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Serbia drops challenge over Kosovo

Serbia's government has given up its bid to challenge Kosovo's independence at the UN General Assembly meeting, after reaching a compromise solution with the EU over the resolution it tabled there.

President Boris Tadic said, however, the compromise "in no way includes recognition of Kosovo's independence".

The US and major EU powers are among over 70 countries that have recognised Kosovo's independence. Serbia, supported by Russia and China, maintains it will never accept the split.

Serbia has faced pressure from the EU to withdraw the previous text, which called Kosovo's unilateral secession "unacceptable" and demanded more status talks, even after the UN's highest court ruled that Kosovo's 2008 move was legal.

EU officials have urged Serbia to drop its bid to retain claim on Kosovo and focus instead on its prospects of joining the EU.

The new text, carried by the official Tanjug news agency, "hails readiness by the European Union to facilitate the process of dialogue between the sides".

"The joint resolution of Serbia and the European Union is the result of joint work ... a compromise," Mr Tadic said in a statement. "The agreed text of the resolution was reached with a sincere desire to solve all open issues in a partnership with the EU, and all other important international factors."

The government's move was immediately hailed by Serbia's liberals, who said it would bring the troubled country closer to the European Union.

But, opposition Democratic Party of Serbia, who are advocating dropping Serbia's EU bid over Kosovo, called the changes "an act of capitulation at an ultimatum by the Western powers in order to snatch away Kosovo".

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