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The parliament of Kosovo voted to declare independence of the region from Serbia.
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thachi read out a declaration of independence of the region
A declaration read out by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci states that Kosovo will be a democratic country that respects the rights of all ethnic communities.
Albanian and American flags visible everywhere in Kosovo
“We have been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Tachi before reading the text of the declaration of independence of the region, whose population is 2 million people.
Also on Sunday, the new flag of Kosovo was presented, on a blue background of which a yellow map of Kosovo and six stars, symbolizing the six main ethnic communities living there, are depicted.
The United States and several EU countries, including Britain, France, Germany and Italy, will recognize Kosovo’s independence on Monday.
However, EU members such as Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Spain, Bulgaria and Romania have made it clear that they will not accept the immediate recognition of the new state.
Kosovo is Serbia
Vojislav Kostunica, Prime Minister of Serbia
Serbia categorically objects to Kosovo’s independence, which still considers the province its province. Belgrade threatens to apply economic and political sanctions against the province, but excludes the use of military force.
The position of Russia and Georgia
After the declaration of independence of Kosovo, Russia, one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, demanded an emergency convocation of the Security Council.
“The Council will consider the situation in two stages,” said Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN.
According to him, on Sunday a UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will have a briefing, and on Monday “an urgent and, I hope, open meeting of the Security Council will be convened.”
“The unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence, from the point of view of international law, is an illegitimate act, because it deeply contradicts the provisions of UNSCR 1244, contradicts the Helsinki Final Act, the arrangements of the contact group,” said Dmitry Peskov, First Deputy Press Secretary of the President of Russia.
Moscow threatened to change its policy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the event of the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said that no one has the right to question the borders and territorial integrity of Georgia.
South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity said on Sunday that “South Ossetia and Abkhazia have more political and legal grounds for recognizing their independence than Kosovo. I am confident that the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be recognized in the near future.”
Correspondents say a high probability of clashes between Kosovo Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
In many cities of Kosovo, 90% of the population of which are Albanians, a festive atmosphere reigns all day.
US Embassy Clashes About 1,000 Protesters with Police
However, incidents are also being reported.
In the city of Mitrovica, the majority of whose inhabitants are Kosovo Serbs, hand grenades were thrown at UN and EU offices. No injuries reported.
In Belgrade, protesters stoned the US Embassy and clashed with policemen pushing them back.
It is also reported that protesters raided the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant, the Serbian government building and the Slovenian embassy, which is currently chairing the EU.
The clashes injured several police and protesters.
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica condemned the declaration of independence of the region, calling Kosovo a “false state.”
Kostunica criticized the United States, which, he said, “is ready to upset the world order for its military interests.”
“Kosovo is Serbia,” said the Serbian Prime Minister.
Serbian ministers went to different parts of Kosovo to express support for the Serbian population of the region.
The Republika Srpska Police in Bosnia has been put on high alert due to the fact that some local Serb groups have called for secession from Bosnia.
On Sunday, US President George W. Bush, speaking in Tanzania, said he supported the idea of Kosovo’s independence under UN supervision.
Earlier this week, the European Union approved the dispatch of a special police mission to Kosovo.
The mission, which will include about 2 thousand police officers, customs officers, prosecutors and members of the judiciary, will be deployed in Kosovo starting next week.
In several regions of Kosovo, the majority of the population are Serbs, who fear harassment by the authorities and the Albanian majority of the region. In addition, there are several ancient monasteries in Kosovo that the Serbs consider sacred to their country.
“I will never stop fighting for our Kosovo,” Boris Tadic, who won the recent Serbian presidential election, said at a presidential oath ceremony on Friday.
Before giving the green light to the deployment of the mission in Kosovo, the European Union diplomatically waited for the Tadic inauguration ceremony to take place, said BBC correspondent in Brussels Oana Lungescu.
Among the tasks of the police, customs officers, prosecutors and judges who will arrive in Kosovo from the EU countries are to prevent human rights violations and to ensure that political institutions are not subjected to fragile power institutions in the region.
The EU mission will be able, in particular, to monitor the conduct of cases of corruption, organized crime and war crimes.
It is formed from representatives of all EU countries, except for tiny Malta. The largest number of its citizens in Kosovo is sent by Germany and Italy.
In addition, representatives from non-EU countries, such as the United States, Turkey and Croatia, will join the delegation.
The EU’s decision is a “clear signal” for Serbia and Russia, which consider Kosovo’s independence and the presence of an EU mission in the province to be illegal.