VIENNA, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Austria will support Serbia to get access to the European Union (EU), on the condition that Serbia and Kosovo can sign an agreement on normalization of relations between the two sides, said Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on Monday.
At a news conference following the meeting with visiting Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Spindelegger stressed that this is a prerequisite for Serbia to join the EU, "otherwise, the path does not lead to Europe, and so knows Serbia."
Mediated by the EU, Serbia and Kosovo recently reached a preliminary agreement on the normalization of relations between the two sides.
Spindelegger said this agreement was "very impressive". He also said that, principally, Serbia is already on the way to the EU.
At the news conference, Dacic expressed the willingness of Serbia to join the EU as soon as possible. "Serbia is waiting for good news from Brussels," he said.
He also reminded the EU of keeping its words on Serbia's "accession" to the EU. "We will not fool anyone, but we do not want to be deceived by others, either. We will comply with commitment, and so the EU."
However, Dacic also said that the agreement does not imply the recognition of the sovereignty and independence of Kosovo.
Kosovo, a Serbian province, unilaterally declared independence in 2008. However, Serbia refuses to recognize it as an independent country. The EU set it as a precondition for Serbia's EU aspirations that the country must normalize relations with neighbors, especially Kosovo.
Serbian Parliament voted 173 in favor and 24 against to ratify the agreement, initialed by Dacic and Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci in Brussels on April 19, on normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.