Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says any deal with neighboring Kosovo to settle their long-standing disputes would need to include a guarantee of membership from the European Union.
“If we ever reach an agreement [with Kosovo], Serbia would need to get clear guarantees that it would become an EU member state in 2025,” Vucic told Reuters in an interview published on September 13.
The EU has said that normalizing bilateral ties between Serbia and its former province is a key condition to move both countries toward EU membership.
Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after NATO bombed to stop the killing and expulsion of Albanians by Serb forces during a two-year counterinsurgency war.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and has been recognized by more than 100 countries, but not by Serbia.
The two sides in 2013 committed to EU-mediated talks to resolve their differences, but little progress has been made.
Vucic on September 8 said during a trip to northern Kosovo that he would be willing to continue talks with Kosovar officials but warned it will be difficult to reach a deal that could normalize relations.