Kosovo's parliament approved the province's independence from Serbia in an extraordinary session on Sunday, thereby ending a long chapter in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
Watch France 24's reports from Kosovo as the province declares independence from Serbia on Sunday February 17 2008:
Independence coming soon (Report: L. Rouy)
Kosovo is "an independent, sovereign and democratic state," speaker Jakup Krasniqi announced after parliament members voted on Sunday to adopt a declaration of independence from Serbia.
They voted 109-0 to adopt the declaration. Eleven ethnic minority deputies, including Serbs, were absent.
"Deputies on February 17 expressed their will to declare Kosovo an independent, sovereign and democratic state," he said.
"False state", claims Serbia
Serbia will never recognise the independence of Kosovo, President Boris Tadic said Sunday as the Albanian-majority territory parliament made the historic declaration.
"Serbia will never recognise the independence of Kosovo. Serbia has reacted and will react with all peaceful, diplomatic and legal means to annul this act committed by Kosovo's institutions," Tadic said in a statement.
"I appeal to all our citizens in Serbia and in Kosovo to be led by reason," said Tadic, a pro-Western leader who opposes Kosovo's independence but not at the cost of Serbia's integration with the European Union.
"The state of Serbia will take responsible moves and will do everything in its power to annul this arbitrary and illegaly proclaimed independence of Kosovo.
"Serbia will not resort to violence and that is the only approach which can enable us to continue our legitmate fight to preserve the integrity of our country," Tadic concluded.
His statement came moments before Kosovo's Albanian-dominated parliament declared independence. The move is backed by the United States and most EU member nations, but vehemently opposed by Serbia and Russia.
Date created : 2008-02-17