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Serbia leader urges Parliament to support Kosovo deal amid nationalist protest

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    A protester holds an Serbian flag during a rally in front of Serbia's parliament building in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 26, 2013. Serbian lawmakers are debating an EU-brokered deal on normalization of ties with breakaway Kosovo which was signed by the government and sets the former war foes on the path of reconciliation and EU integration. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

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    A protester holds a poster depicting, from left: Serbian Progressive Party leader and deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolic, that reads: "They Betrayed Kosovo" during a rally in front of Serbia's parliament building in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 26, 2013. Serbian lawmakers are debating an EU-brokered deal on normalization of ties with breakaway Kosovo which was signed by the government and sets the former war foes on the path of reconciliation and EU integration. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

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    Serbian riot police guard Serbia's parliament building in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 26, 2013. Serbian lawmakers are debating an EU-brokered deal on normalization of ties with breakaway Kosovo which was signed by the government and sets the former war foes on the path of reconciliation and EU integration. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

  • 8ce64f0e0292220e300f6a706700c2bd.jpg

    Serbian riot police guard Serbia's parliament building in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, April 26, 2013. Serbian lawmakers are debating an EU-brokered deal on normalization of ties with breakaway Kosovo which was signed by the government and sets the former war foes on the path of reconciliation and EU integration. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

Serbia's prime minister is urging Parliament to support an agreement normalizing relations with breakaway Kosovo, telling lawmakers that rejection of the EU-brokered deal would have turned the country into "Europe's North Korea."

Ivica Dacic said Friday that the agreement his government reached with Kosovo this month in Brussels was "the best Serbia could achieve at this moment."

Serbia's nationalists and hardliners in Kosovo's divided north have rejected the deal, which will give Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership authority over rebel Kosovo Serbs in exchange for their wide autonomy.

Serbia has rejected Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, but it must improve ties with the former province to advance its bid to join the European Union.

Several hundred nationalists rallied outside Parliament. The assembly is expected to overwhelmingly back the deal.