Kosovo and Serbian officials discuss future of thousands of Serb refugees and other minorities displaced by the 1999 war. Two countries sign agreement on creating safe, comfortable and fair conditions for the return refugees.
The agreement commits the sides to securing conditions for the voluntary return of those who fled the conflict in Kosovo, such as physical and material security, freedom of movement, return of property, reconstruction of burned homes and equal employment opportunities, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press before the signing ceremony.
The signing is a rare indication of agreement between Serbia and Kosovo and comes at a sensitive time for the province. On Monday, local Serbian officials in the northern part of Kosovo said they would sever ties with provincial institutions that are dominated by the ethnic Albanian majority, following a number of incidents they blame on ethnic Albanians.
At the end of the war, more than 200,000 Serbs and other minorities streamed out of Kosovo, fearing revenge attacks after a NATO air war ended a Serb crackdown on the province's independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.
So far, international and government-led efforts to return Serb refugees and those displaced within the province have produced little result, which increases fears of territorial division along ethnic lines, reports the AP.
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