Serb, Croat presidents to meet on improving ties

BELGRADE: The presidents of Serbia and Croatia are to meet Wednesday for talks on improving relations in their first meeting since the Croat leader took office in February, the Serb presidency said.

Serbian President Boris Tadic and his counterpart Ivo Josipovic would hold informal discussions in the northern Croatian coastal town of Opatija, it said in a statement.

"The two presidents will discuss improving of Serbo-Croatian bilateral ties," the statement said.

Relations between the neighbouring countries have remained sensitive since Croatia's 1991-1995 independence war from the former Yugoslavia during which Belgrade backed rebel Serbs, with allegations of war crimes on both sides.

Josipovic told AFP early this month that one of the most important objectives of his presidential programme was to improve relations between Croatia and Serbia.

Tadic boycotted Josipovic's February 18 inauguration because of the presence of the president of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu.

Serbia rejects Kosovo's unilaterally proclaimed independence in 2008 and considers the breakaway territory its southern province.

Croatia however recognises Kosovo's independence, adding to strains with Serbia.