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Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

New Serbian president vows to seek EU membership

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

By SLOBODAN LEKIC

BRUSSELS — Serbia’s new president tried Thursday to assure worried European leaders that he has shifted from his earlier extreme anti-Western stance, saying his country hopes to receive EU approval later this year to open accession talks with the 27-nation bloc.

EU officials said they would warn Tomislav Nikolic to tone down his nationalist statements if he wishes to see his nation progress toward membership.

Nikolic, a former ultranationalist, has courted controversy since his election last month, questioning whether the Bosnian Serb killings of 8,000 Muslims in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre constitutes genocide — the U.N. says it does — and claiming that Vukovar, a Croatian town destroyed by Serb forces in 1991, is a Serbian city.

After a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during his first visit to Brussels, Nikolic vowed “there is no better future for Serbia than membership in the union.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

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Don Melvin

Slobodan Lekic

Raf Casert

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