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Serbia, Croatia to Normalize Relations

August 08, 1996| From Reuters

ATHENS — Serbia and Croatia on Wednesday reached an initial agreement on mutual recognition, seen as crucial for peace in the Balkans.

Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and later fought a war against Croatia's minority Serbs, who were aided by Serbia. Relations between the two strongest republics in the former Yugoslav federation have been strained since.

The accord was worked out between Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman at a meeting organized by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

"We agreed on the normalization of relations in all fields," Tudjman said after returning home. He said final agreements are to be signed Aug. 23.

The two Balkan leaders pledged in a statement to seek ways to improve economic ties, to negotiate their disagreement over territory in Montenegro and to work for the return of refugees. Yugoslavia now consists only of Serbia and Montenegro.

The meeting at a hotel near Athens was set up by Simitis with the blessing of the United States and the European Union.

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