“Kosovo President Hashim Thaci ruled out on Tuesday partition of the country with Serbia along ethnic lines, an idea raised in Belgrade to settle a long-running dispute that is hindering both sides’ ambitions to join the European Union.

Thaci is due to meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels after the summer break under an EU-sponsored dialogue which has made little progress in normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina since it was launched in 2013.

But Thaci dismissed suggestions that Kosovo, which has an ethnic Albanian majority but also a Serb minority, should be divided. Officials in Belgrade say partition, allowing Serbia to maintain control over northern Kosovo where ethnic Serbs form a majority, could be acceptable to both sides.

‘I want to assure the people of Kosovo that there will be no force that will make Kosovo discuss and … agree to partition,’ he told a news conference. ‘We need to reach an agreement with Serbia as soon as possible in order to have mutual recognition.’” (Reuters)