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A man passes by graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin, reading: 'Kosovo is Serbia' in Belgrade, Serbia, on Aug. 1.Darko Vojinovic/The Associated Press

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo will meet in Brussels on Aug. 18 to discuss a flare-up of tensions between the neighbouring western Balkan nations, the European Union’s executive said on Friday.

“The aim of the upcoming meeting … in Brussels is to move the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade for this is something that is very much needed at the highest level,” European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano told a news briefing.

Tensions came to a head last week after Kosovo said it would oblige Serbs living in the north of the country and using Serbian car licence plates to apply for plates issued by Pristina institutions.

After protests, implementation of the order was delayed but strains remain between Serbia and Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia 14 years ago.

Stano said he could not anticipate the outcome of the talks in Brussels between Serbian president Aleksandr Vucic and Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

“It is already a very important step that they are both coming to Brussels to discuss how to move forward and how to prevent situations that we have seen in the past, a situation of stagnation, of tensions, of not solving open issues,” he said.

Kosovo has been recognized as an independent state by more than 100 countries but not by Serbia.

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