The Republic of Kosovo officially split from the Serbian state yesterday when the Kosovar parliament finally passed the declaration of independence. In a speech to the parliament Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi announced that "We, the democratically elected leaders of our people, hereby declare Kosovo an independent and sovereign state. This declaration reflects the will of our people."
Celebrations were held throughout the day across the country, except in the north where there is a Serbian majority. The only violent incidents took place in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, where some protesters threw stones at the embassies of the United States, one of the main promoters of Kosovo independence, and Slovenia, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union.
As predicted, the independence of Kosovo has attracted widespread international attention. For the time being there do not appear to be major changes to the list of states expected to recognize the new legal status of the country. Reuters AlertNet has reported the reactions of people in territories that have not had their independence recognized, such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Politicians representing some of these territories have promised to use the example of Kosovo as a means of advancing towards gaining international recognition for their own independence.
- KosovaPress: Kosovo declared the independence
- B92: Ethnic Albanians declare Kosovo's independence
- The Guardian: Albanian celebrations leave Serbs defiant