Serbia and Kosovo on 20 April 2013 reached an agreement on overcoming ethnic enmities in Kosovo, a former Serbian province after months of difficult negotiations. It will increase stability in the region as well as allow both countries to join European Union.
As per the agreement, municipal bodies in the Serb-majority north will retain autonomy in areas like health care and education. In exchange, the police and courts will apply the Kosovo central government’s laws. The Serbian municipalities will have the authority to appoint a regional police chief.
Serbia has had de facto control over the small Serb-majority area in the north, which does not accept Kosovo’s authority.
Tensions have increased since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian Muslim majority won independence after a brutal ethnic civil war with Serbia.
Kosovo is now recognized by more than 90 countries, including the United States and a majority of nations in the European Union. But five member nations of EU, including Spain and Cyprus, refused to recognize Kosovo.
Serbia has also refused to recognize Kosovo. It has argued that Kosovo’s declaration of independence breached international law. Serbia’s close ally, Russia, has blocked Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations which is hindering its political and economical progress.
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