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Serbian leader says resolving Kosovo conflict ’very hard’

GAZIVODE, Kosovo — Serbia’s president says an agreement resolving his country’s dispute with Kosovo will be difficult to achieve given European opposition to remaking borders in the Balkans region.

President Aleksandar Vucic said Saturday that Serbia wants to be on friendly terms with Kosovo, but doesn’t recognize its 2008 declaration of independence.

Vucic is in Kosovo for a two-day visit. Speculation surfaced Friday that the countries were headed toward normalized relations and might exchange territory.

The land swap idea has drawn opposition based on concerns the exchange would produce demands for similar deals in the volatile region.

Vucic conceded: “It will be very hard for us to reach any kind of agreement.”

Kosovo was a Serbian province when a crackdown on separatists in 1998-99 led to the deaths of more than 10,000 people.