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The president and prime minister of Kosovo have walked out of talks with EU representatives in the first serious bilateral rift since Kosovo declared independence last year.
The talks in Pristina on Thursday (27 August) were designed to soothe ethnic Albanian fears over a new police co-operation agreement between the Serbian interior ministry and the EU's police mission to Kosovo, Eulex.
The co-operation protocol will help Serb and EU police share information on cross-border organised crime and is a pre-condition for Serbia to obtain visa free travel to the EU in 2010.
But Kosovo leaders said that Eulex' direct dealing with Serbia undermines its attempt to establish a sovereign state.
"The Kosovo leaders reiterated in the meeting their firm position against the protocol and emphasised that from today any debate and discussion on this issue is completely closed. Kosovo does not take any obligation and responsibility for issues which it has not decided in a sovereign way," the office of Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu said.