Kosovo officially declares independence from Serbia

February 17th, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by admin  

Pristina (Kosovo), Feb 17 (Xinhua) Kosovo officially declared independence from Serbia Sunday. Kosovo’s parliament voted to adopt a declaration of independence at an extraordinary session on the province’s independence from Serbia.

“Kosovo is a republic - an independent, democratic and sovereign state,” parliament speaker Jakup Krasniqi said at the meeting.

In his speech, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said, “From today onwards, Kosovo is proud, independent and free.”

Kosovo is the cultural heartland of Serbia. But most of Kosovo’s two million people are ethnic Albanians, who have been impatient with delays in the proclamation of independence.

It has been under UN administration since mid-1999, after NATO launched air strikes to drive out Serbian forces from the province.

In April 2007, UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari recommended internationally supervised independence for Kosovo.

The Ahtisaari plan was supported by the US and the European Union, but opposed by Serbia and Russia.

Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has warned that Kosovo independence would set a dangerous precedent for regions across the world with ethnic tensions.

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