Serbia, Kosovar Leaders To Meet In Brussels For Normalization Talks.

The European Union is set to host a meeting between the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo in Brussels on July 19 in a new attempt to make progress toward normalizing relations between the two Balkan neighbors.

It will be the second meeting of Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and comes one month after a first round of inconclusive talks between the two leaders.

The talks are part of decade-long negotiations aimed at resolving disputes that continue to taint relations more than 20 years after the 1998-99 Kosovo War.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province, declared independence in 2008 after a 1998-99 conflict between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces. The war ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign that drove Serbian troops out and a peacekeeping force moved in.

Both Washington and Brussels have said that normalization is essential for their further integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Serbia and Kosovo are both seeking EU membership, and Kosovo aims at NATO membership, too.

Kosovo's independence has been recognized by more than 100 countries, including the United States and all but five of the European Union's 27 member states. But Serbia still considers the territory as its southern province, and is supported by Russia and China.

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