UNITED NATIONS, March 18 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on both Belgrade and Pristina "to remain committed to reaching agreements through mutually acceptable solutions" to the issue of Kosovo, seen by Belgrade as part of Serbia.
"The secretary-general is encouraged by the commitment and determination of the leaderships in Belgrade and Pristina to achieve substantial progress in the context of the dialogue facilitated by the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.
"The secretary-general calls upon both parties to remain committed to reaching agreements through mutually acceptable solutions," the statement said.
Ban "stresses the importance of a successful outcome to achieve a stable and prosperous European future for the Western Balkans," said the statement. "He also urges both parties to conduct the remaining stage of the negotiations with the courage to compromise and the determination to bring about lasting stability in the region."
"The secretary-general looks forward to discussing the progress with the parties in New York in the margins of the (UN) Security Council discussion on Kosovo, following the important next round of talks in Brussels on 20 March," the statement added.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in Belgrade on Thursday that Serbia had never been closer to a deal with Kosovo after talks with Ashton, who called the talks in the Serbian capital " useful and constructive."
Meanwhile, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said that Serbia is prepared to "compromise," but will not "accept humiliation."
"That's our message ahead of talks on March 20," the foreign minister said, referring to the European Union-sponsored talks which will be attended by officials from both Belgrade and Pristina.
Serbia steadfastly refuses to recognize Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 and insists Kosovo is part of its territory.