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Serbia-Kosovo talks broach 'parallel rule' issue

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February 19, 2013 11:18 AM EST | AP

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BRUSSELS — Talks between Serbia and Kosovo, which Serbia considers a renegade province, are broaching one of the most delicate issues dividing them – so-called parallel rule of northern Kosovo by the Serbian government.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci are meeting Tuesday in Brussels with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. It is the fifth meeting between the prime ministers.

The issue is the status of the northern part of Kosovo, dominated by ethnic Serbs. Serbia discretely exercises virtual control of the area through parallel police forces and other institutions.

Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, has been recognized as independent by many nations, but not by Serbia. Nevertheless, normalizing relations with Kosovo is a condition for Serbia if it wishes to join the EU.