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Germany, some EU partners oppose Serbia-Kosovo land swap

BRUSSELS — Germany and some of its European Union partners say they fear that a possible land-swap between Serbia and Kosovo could open up old wounds in the Balkans rather than resolve their differences.

NATO intervened in 1999 to stop a bloody Serb crackdown on Albanian separatists in Kosovo. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia refuses to recognize it.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Friday that any shifting of borders “could rip open too many old wounds within the population. And that’s why we are very skeptical about this.”

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci says he rejects the idea of dividing the territory along ethnic lines, but he says he is open to discussing “a correction” of borders during EU-mediated peace talks.