NATO Commander Backs EU candidate Status for Serbia

Posted December 7th, 2011 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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NATO's chief says a decision by the European Union to grant candidate status to Serbia would be beneficial to regional security.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made the remarks Wednesday, following a recent deal between Serbia and Kosovo to remove some of the barricades on their border.

The leaders of the 27-nation EU bloc are to decide at a summit in Brussels on Friday whether to grant Serbia candidate status — a key step in the accession process. EU leaders say Serbia must find a way to end the unrest on its border with Kosovo if it wants its bid for EU candidacy to move forward.

Last week, Serbian President Boris Tadic called on Serbs to abandon the roadblocks in northern Kosovo, saying it was damaging the country's bid for EU membership.

Ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, supported by Belgrade, refuse to recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence. They have been setting up roadblocks in the border area since July.

But the two governments have been negotiating on resolving practical matters and easing tensions in a series of EU-brokered peace talks.