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EU says Serbia agreement on hold

The EU enlargement commissioner has said a political deal due to be signed with Serbia has been postponed because of a political dispute in Belgrade.

Olli Rehn spoke of "the obstruction by certain politicians", in a clear reference to PM Vojislav Kostunica.

And Serbian President Boris Tadic later complained that Mr Kostunica had blocked a cabinet meeting on the issue.

Mr Kostunica has denounced the accord as a trick which will help pave the way for independence in Kosovo.

The EU offer of closer trade relations and relaxed visa requirements was due to be signed on Thursday.

Sovereignty 'undermined'

But the Serbian prime minister said a formal agreement made this week by the EU's 27 member states for a 1,800-strong civilian mission to Kosovo had undermined his country's sovereignty.

Kosovo's leadership is expected to proclaim independence in

the next few weeks.

Mr Kostunica's stance on the EU is strongly at odds with that of President Tadic, who won re-election on Sunday and whose party is part of the same ruling coalition.

He accused Mr Tadic's Democrats of putting Serbia's constitutional order in "grave danger" by refusing to convene a session of parliament.

In a separate development, two allies of the Serbian president - the deputy prime minister and foreign minister - were among 17 ministers who signed a letter to Mr Kostunica calling for a regular government meeting to take place on Thursday.......article conts (-)

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