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Serbian Leaders Formally Reconcile


The political party founded by former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic and the party that ousted Milosevic from power have formally reconciled in a move intended to move Serbia toward European Union membership.

Leaders of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and the Democratic Party (DS) of Serbian President Boris Tadic signed the pact Saturday.

The pact calls for both parties to work to transform Serbia into a modern democracy while also preserving the country's "full integrity."

Despite long-standing differences, the two parties agreed to form a coalition in June, following the collapse of the previous government and snap elections that were brought on by the secession of Kosovo.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia in February and has been recognized by most EU members. Serbia, backed by Russia, has insisted on maintaining sovereignty over the area.

President Tadic has argued Serbia should continue pursuing EU membership regardless of differences over Kosovo.

Divisions between the Socialist Party and Mr. Tadic's Democratic Party extend back to the rule of former Serbian leader Milosevic.

The Democratic Party helped remove Milosevic from power and then helped extradite him to The Hague, where he died while on trial for war crimes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.

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