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Serbia, Kosovo officials to meet in Bulgaria

Representatives of Serbia and Kosovo will meet for the first time since Kosovo's declaration of independence at a conference in Sofia later this week.

“This will be a difficult meeting as it will be the first big international forum where Serbia and Kosovo are to join the same table after Kosovo's proclamation of independence,” Ivaylo Kalfin told the national radio.

The roundtable talks on Thursday and Friday will be held under the umbrella of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

Kalfin said Bulgaria would do all it could to ensure full attendance at the talks, saying: “There should not be empty spaces in regional cooperation.”

Kosovo's declaration of independence on February 17 has not been accepted by Serbia, or its ally Russia, and sparked angry protests in Belgrade.

The United States and most EU members, including Britain, France and Germany, have all recognized Kosovo.

Bulgaria, which shares a border with Serbia, has yet to follow suit, saying recognition would depend on Kosovo implementing the proposals of UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan for supervised independence.

Among other SEECP members, Turkey has granted Kosovo recognition, Serbia and Romania remain adamantly opposed, while Croatia and Greece have yet to confirm their positions on the issue. (reliefweb)