Thousands in Belgrade protest against Western-backed Serbia-Kosovo deal

Protesters shout slogans and hold signs during a demonstration against a Western-backed deal on normalizing ties between Kosovo and Serbia in Belgrade, Mar. 17, 2023. [Djordje Kojadinovic/Reuters]

Several thousand people gathered in Belgrade to protest against a Western-backed deal to normalize ties between Kosovo and Serbia, which they view as recognition of Kosovo independence.

Serbia's constitution considers Kosovo an integral part of its territory, even though it declared independence in 2008 with US and European Union backing. Bilateral ties need to be mended for Serbia and Kosovo to achieve their strategic goal of joining the EU.

Protesters held Serbian flags and banners reading "Kosovo is not for sale," "Serbia, not European Union," and "No to capitulation."

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is due to meet Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and EU officials on Saturday in Ohrid, North Macedonia, to discuss implementation of the deal on normalizing ties both parties agreed to last month.

"I think the deal implies that we recognize Kosovo,...

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