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US welcomes Serbia, Kosovo deal

A man walks on a bridge in the divided town of Mitrovica on April 2, 2013
A man walks on a bridge in the divided town of Mitrovica on April 2, 2013. Serbia and its former province of Kosovo initialled a historic deal Friday to normalise ties, a move key to the future of the Western Balkans.

The United States on Friday welcomed an historic deal between Serbia and its former province of Kosovo, as US Secretary of State John Kerry called for the pact to be swiftly implemented.

The top US diplomat said the deal on normalizing ties "required compromise and political courage from both sides."

"I applaud the governments of Kosovo and Serbia for making the hard decisions that will move them closer to their goals of European integration," he said in a statement.

Kerry called on "both countries now to implement expeditiously and fully all dialogue agreements... so that all of those living in Kosovo and Serbia can continue to build a more peaceful and prosperous future.

"The United States will remain deeply committed to seeing the people of Serbia, Kosovo, and the entire region realize their aspirations of integration into a Europe free, whole, and at peace."

Hailed as a milestone deal by EU leaders, the premiers of Serbia and Kosovo, Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci, Friday signed a 15-point agreement struck after two years of tough talks to reduce mutual tension.

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