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Kashmir Newz Board

Kosovo breaks free

Srinagar, February 18, 2008:

Defying Russia, Serbia and sidestepping the UN, Kosovo's parliament unanimously endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia on Sunday.

Soon after the historic announcement by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a former separatist guerrilla leader, jubilations marked the streets of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.

The crowds burst fireworks and danced on streets fluttering Kosovo's flag, the BBC reported.

Kosovo parliament's move to declare independence from Serbia is fully backed by United States and leading European nations, including France, Britain and Germany.

"From this day onwards, Kosovo is proud, independent and free," Hashim Thaci said.

Kosovo, a province of Serbia with ethnic Albanian majority has been under UN administration and controlled by NATO troops since a 1999.

Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has said his country will never accept the establishment of a "false country" on its territory.

"Anything and everything that we couldn't achieve today will be obtained by new generations of Serbian people in the future," Kostunica said Sunday in a televised address.

Russian call for the UN to declare Sunday's declaration "null and void," does not appropriate response from any world body.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all parties "to refrain from any actions or statements that could endanger peace, incite violence or jeopardize security in Kosovo and the region."

The European Union decided Saturday to launch a mission of about 2,000 police and judicial officers to replace the UN mission that has controlled the province since 1999, the BBC said.

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