In the Serbian capital Belgrade on Friday evening, several thousand people protested against the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia demanded by the West. The demonstrators carried Serbian flags and banners reading "Kosovo is not for sale", "Serbia, not the European Union" and "No to capitulation".

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will on Saturday negotiate with Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti and EU officials on the way to normalize relations agreed by the two sides last month under pressure from the EU.

Bilateral relations need to be improved so that Serbia and Kosovo can achieve their goal of joining the EU. According to the Serbian constitution, Kosovo is part of its own territory, although it declared independence in 2008 with the support of the US and the European Union.

The rapprochement between the two Balkan countries is to be achieved by means of a basic treaty, as in the past between the Federal Republic and the GDR. It provides that issues such as mutual recognition are ignored for the time being and that both governments can still talk to each other. The opening of reciprocal diplomatic missions in the capitals is also planned.

The EU and the US have given Serbia and Kosovo until March to adopt the Basic Treaty.