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Kosovo prepares for first Independence Day

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Kosovo prepares for first Independence Day

Post by shammy on Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:53 pm

17th February,2008

Kosovo's parliament meets Sunday afternoon to officially declare the province's independence from Serbia, a move opposed by Serbia and Russia but supported by many western governments.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is set to appear before the legislature to officially request the independence declaration -- and it is expected to be immediately approved.

He said Saturday: "Tomorrow is a big day, a peaceful day, with understanding between each other, and we have our state obligations to fulfill toward our people. All Kosovo institutions have to implement our state obligations for our people."

President George Bush said Sunday that Kosovo's status must be resolved before the Balkans can become stable and that the United States supports the Ahtisaari plan which calls for a form of supervised independence.

The European Union decided Saturday to launch a mission of about 2,000 police and judicial officers to replace the United Nations mission that has been controlling the province since the end of the war with Serbia in 1999.

Kosovo has been under U.N. supervision and patrolled by a NATO-led peacekeeping force since the end of the three-month war, in which NATO warplanes pounded Serbia to roll back a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" of the province's Albanian population under former then-President Slobodan Milosevic.

The disputed province is dear to the Serbs, Orthodox Christians who regard it as Serbian territory. But it is equally coveted by Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, Muslims who have a 90 percent majority, and two years of talks on its final status ended in failure last December.

"Its status must be resolved in order for the Balkans to be stable," President Bush told reporters during a news conference in Tanzania Sunday


http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/17/kosovo.independence/index.html?iref=mpstoryview
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