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Kosovo declares independence from Serbia

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080217/wl_nm/kosovo_serbia_dc;_ylt=Al3pF9NKYyMLfkI32elYj2FbbBAF Kosovo declares independence from Serbia By Shaban Buza 5 minutes
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2008
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080217/wl_nm/kosovo_serbia_dc;_ylt=Al3pF9NKYyMLfkI32elYj2FbbBAF

      Kosovo declares independence from Serbia

      By Shaban Buza 5 minutes ago

      PRISTINA, Serbia (Reuters) - Kosovo declared
      independence from Serbia on Sunday, ending a long
      chapter in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia.

      The proclamation was made by leaders of the breakaway
      province's 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority,
      including former guerrillas who fought for
      independence in a 1998-99 war which claimed about
      10,000 civilian lives.

      "We, the leaders of our people, democratically
      elected, through this declaration proclaim Kosovo an
      independent and sovereign state," said the text read
      out in parliament by Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim
      Thaci.

      Kosovo will be a "society that respects human dignity"
      and is committed to confronting the "painful legacy of
      the recent past, in a spirit of reconciliation and
      forgiveness."

      All 109 deputies present at the session in the capital
      Pristina voted in favor with a show of hands. Eleven
      deputies from ethnic minorities, including Serbs, were
      absent.

      Belgrade bitterly opposes the secession. Backed by
      Russia, Serbs vow never to give up the territory, in
      which their history goes back 1,000 years.

      But the West supports the demand of Kosovo's 2 million
      ethnic Albanians for their own state, nine years after
      NATO went to war to save them from Serbian forces.

      Kosovo will be the sixth state carved from the former
      Serbian-dominated Yugoslav federation since 1991,
      after Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and
      Montenegro.

      It will be the world's 193rd independent country but
      Serbia says it will never win a seat at the United
      Nations.

      Serbs in the north of Kosovo will reject independence,
      cementing an ethnic partition that will weigh on the
      new state for years to come. Fewer than half of
      Kosovo's 120,000 remaining Serbs live in the north,
      while the rest are in scattered enclaves protected by
      NATO peacekeepers.

      The United States and most EU members are expected to
      quickly recognize Kosovo, despite failing to win
      United Nations Security Council approval -- blocked by
      Russia last year.

      The EU will also send a supervisory mission to take
      over from the current U.N. authorities.

      (Writing by Douglas Hamilton; editing by Ellie Tzortzi
      and Richard Meares)
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