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Old 02-17-2008, 12:26 PM #1
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Kosovo Declares Independence!

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Kosovo MPs proclaim independence

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (centre) shakes hands in parliament (17/02/08)
Albanian and American flags have been on prominent display

Declaration
Kosovo's parliament has unanimously endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia, in an historic session.

The declaration, read by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, said Kosovo would be a democratic country that respected the rights of all ethnic communities.

The US and a number of EU countries are expected to recognise Kosovo on Monday.

Serbia's PM denounced the US for helping create a "false state". Serbia's ally, Russia, called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting.

It is scheduled for Sunday evening.

See a map of Kosovo's ethnic breakdown

Tens of thousands of people had thronged the streets of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, since the morning.


We have waited for this day for a very long time... from today, we are proud, independent and free"
Hashim Thaci
Kosovo Prime Minister

Voters' voices
When news came of the declaration in parliament, the centre of the city erupted with fireworks, firecrackers and celebratory gunfire.

Hundreds of ethnic Albanians staged noisy celebrations in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, and in Brussels, outside the headquarters of Nato and the European Union.

Hand grenades

The first sign of trouble in Kosovo came in the ethnic Serbian area of the flashpoint town of Mitrovica, where two hand grenades were thrown at international community buildings.

One exploded at a UN court building while the other failed to go off outside offices expected to house the new EU mission.


KOSOVO PROFILE
Population about two million
Majority ethnic Albanian; 10% Serb
Under UN control since Nato drove out Serb forces in 1999
2,000-strong EU staff to take over from UN after independence
Nato to stay to provide security

In pictures: Celebrations
East-West split over Kosovo
In quotes: World reaction
In Belgrade, the US embassy was pelted with stones as up to 2,000 demonstrators clashed with hundreds of riot police. "Kosovo is the heart of Serbia," the protesters shouted.

Several Serbian ministers travelled to Kosovo to show their support for the ethnic Serbian minority.

Kosovo's 10 Serbian MPs boycotted the assembly session in protest at the declaration.

Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica blamed the US which he said was "ready to violate the international order for its own military interests".

"Today, this policy of force thinks that it has triumphed by establishing a false state," Mr Kostunica said.

Search for equality

The declaration was approved with a show of hands. No-one opposed it.
HAVE YOUR SAY

Unfortunately today Kosovo and Serbia are to become two dispensable chess-pieces of EU/NATO and Russia

Mat, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Send us your comments

"We have waited for this day for a very long time," Mr Thaci told parliament before reading the text, paying tribute to those who had died on the road to independence.

From today, he said, Kosovo was "proud, independent and free".

"The independence of Kosovo marks the end of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia," the prime minister said.

He said Kosovo would be built in accordance with the UN plan drawn up by former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari.

The international military and civilian presence - also envisaged by the Ahtisaari plan - was welcome, the PM said.

There should be no fear of discrimination in new Kosovo, he said, vowing to eradicate any such practices.

The declaration was signed by all the MPs present.

Ode to Joy

Kosovo's top leaders are due to go to a sports hall later where the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra is expected to play Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

They are also due to sign their names on giant iron letters spelling out the word "newborn" which was to be displayed in Pristina.

Albanian musicians in Pristina on 17 February 2008

Legal furore over recognition
Analysis: Anxious Balkans
Full text: Kosovo declaration

Some ethnic Albanians, who make up the majority of Kosovo's population, earlier laid flowers on the graves of family members killed by Serbian security forces during years of conflict and division.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Mitrovica says local and UN police, as well as the Nato troops, are maintaining a high profile to reassure all the citizens of Kosovo that they have nothing to fear.

Limitations

The declaration approved by Kosovo's parliament contains limitations on Kosovan independence as outlined in Mr Ahtisaari's plan.

Kosovo, or part of it, cannot join any other country. It will be supervised by an international presence. Its armed forces will be limited and it will make strong provisions for Serb minority protection.

Recognition by a number of EU states, including the UK and other major countries, will come on Monday after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, says the BBC's Paul Reynolds.

The US is also expected to announce its recognition on Monday.

Three EU states - Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia - have told other EU governments that they will not recognise Kosovo, says our correspondent.

Russia's foreign ministry has indicated that Western recognition of an independent Kosovo could have implications for the Georgian breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The UN has administered Kosovo since a Nato bombing campaign in 1999 drove out Serb forces.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7249034.stm

I wonder how violent this thing is going to get.
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Old 02-17-2008, 12:36 PM #2
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A country, bringing democracy to themselves??
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Old 02-17-2008, 12:37 PM #3
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A country, bringing democracy to themselves??
Inconceivable!
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:38 PM #4
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This will be interesting to watch.

Russia isn't happy about this, and Serbia is pissed.
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:57 PM #5
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A country, bringing democracy to themselves??
They did it with US help. Did you miss all the American flags they were waving?
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:03 PM #6
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Let's not take all the credit. The EU supported this too.

Happy independence day, I suppose.
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:06 PM #7
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Let's not take all the credit. The EU supported this too.

Happy independence day, I suppose.
The EU supports a lot of stuff like the UN, NATO, etc., but the US is the only nation that actually takes action. Regardless, its a great victory for Kosovo.
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:15 PM #8
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My prediction is that the Russian Army will get there fast, and then they'll take it slow. That's where they want to go. Down to Kosovo.
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:54 PM #9
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They did it with US help. Did you miss all the American flags they were waving?
Didn't we also help the Guerilla's bomb Yugoslavia?

Gotta' love the CIA, installing dictators, ****ing with the internal affairs of other countries, and when **** hits the fan, our Military [and tax payer money] are sent to fix the problem!

(Whoever wants to abolish the CIA is a bad, bad person!)
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:03 PM #10
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Meh, if it becomes a nation in the eyes of the US and EU and is considered friendly then they shouldnt have to much to worry about. The Russians are only doing this for show, Putin probably doesnt realy give a damn about Kosovo.
And the Serbs aren't in any position to do anything, they are too used to killing people that can't fight back...
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:54 PM #11
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I was doing some research on Kosovo and I found that the majority are Albanian who absolutely despise the Serbs, so the minority was controling the majority. I just want to know if Serbia will really try that hard to retake their land that wants absolutely nothing to do with them. In 1992 Kosovo's parliament organized an unofficial referendum about wether or not the people want independce. The voter turn out was about 80% and 98% of them wanted independce. That was sixteen years ago and tensions have only brewed since then, especially after the 2004 dog incident which led to massive riots and church burnings. Will the independce of Kosovo intiate an imediate re-takeover of power, or because the indepence is strongly backed by the EU and other strong nations will Serbia and Russia leave it be?

On a side note, I really enjoy Kosovo's flag
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Old 02-17-2008, 07:17 PM #12
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this is a good thing, hopefully. depends what the new government is like.
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:44 PM #13
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Originally Posted by Furious Ge0rge View Post
Didn't we also help the Guerilla's bomb Yugoslavia?

Gotta' love the CIA, installing dictators, ****ing with the internal affairs of other countries, and when **** hits the fan, our Military [and tax payer money] are sent to fix the problem!

(Whoever wants to abolish the CIA is a bad, bad person!)
I don't think you really know what you're talking about. We took on a peacekeeping role in the Balkans. Also, who are the Guerillas? Are you sure you're thinking of the right conflict?

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I was doing some research on Kosovo and I found that the majority are Albanian who absolutely despise the Serbs, so the minority was controling the majority. I just want to know if Serbia will really try that hard to retake their land that wants absolutely nothing to do with them. In 1992 Kosovo's parliament organized an unofficial referendum about wether or not the people want independce. The voter turn out was about 80% and 98% of them wanted independce. That was sixteen years ago and tensions have only brewed since then, especially after the 2004 dog incident which led to massive riots and church burnings. Will the independce of Kosovo intiate an imediate re-takeover of power, or because the indepence is strongly backed by the EU and other strong nations will Serbia and Russia leave it be?

On a side note, I really enjoy Kosovo's flag
That's Albania's flag, more than 90% of Kosovo's population is Albanian. And yes, its one of my favorites too.
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:32 PM #14
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Hey, that was the place Clinton had the **** bombed out of!

Than they sent UN troops in and pushed it right back up!

Must suck to live there right now?

Other than the phat rave parties out in the middle of the civil war zone(at the time)!
They have videos on Youtube about these "Raves of Peace". Thousands of kids dancing around explosions and gunfire in the distance.
My kind of party!
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:38 PM #15
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Kosovo now...

Chechnya next?
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:41 PM #16
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Chechnya next?
we can only hope. though i do not think it is likely
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:35 PM #17
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Kosovo's flag:

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Old 02-17-2008, 11:52 PM #18
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it would be cool to take a trip to Kosovo now. It would be a really unique experience.
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:52 AM #19
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I can't tell if it is the blue or yellow color falling off?
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:27 AM #20
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This time, in order not to piss off muslims, when the christians start that whole genocide thing again we'll just look the other way. Don't want to upset any mullahs and get any more fatwas on our heads.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:53 AM #21
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it would be cool to take a trip to Kosovo now. It would be a really unique experience.
I don't think you want to do that.
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