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news 09 Apr 13

Serbs Want North Kosovo to Join Serbia, Survey

Most Serbs want the Serb-run north of Kosovo to join Serbia, says a recent poll, which has come out after the Belgrade government rejected an EU-backed deal with Kosovo.

BIRN Belgrade

Fifty seven per cent Serbs believe a deal between Belgrade and Pristina on the Serb-run north of Kosovo is impossible while 32.4 believe the possibility exists and 10.4 per cent have no answer.

The results come from a survey conducted by Ninamedia agency in April 3-5 on a sample of 1,206 respondents in Serbia.
According to the same poll, 47.2 per cent of respondents favour merging the northern part of Kosovo with Serbia.

Another 16.9 per cent would accept Kosovo Serb autonomy within Kosovo in a planned  "Association of Serbian Municipalities". Another 26.1 per cent of respondents did not have an answer.

The majority of respondents, 56.1 per cent, said that, either way, a decision on Kosovo would not impact on their personal lives, while 43.9 per cent said it would.

The survey comes at the time when the government has turned down a proposed deal with Kosovo aimed at normalising relations.

Serbian officials said the proposed EU-backed deal did not offer enough safeguards for the Serbian community in north Kosovo.

The talks are important for Serbia’s EU aspirations as its hopes for a start date for membership talks depend on progress made on the Kosovo issue.

The European Commission is due to recommend whether Serbia should open negotiations on April 16.

The EU-mediated dialogue was launched in March 2011, three years after Kosovo declared independence.

The aim is to normalise relations between the two capitals, both of which aspire to EU membership, in the context of Serbia's continued refusal to recognise Kosovo's independence.

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