Kosovo PM confirms independence declaration

Updated: 2008-02-17 09:00

Belgrade -- Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci confirmed that the ethnic Albanian-dominated Serb province will declare independence on Sunday, the Serbian Beta news agency reported.

A car with Kosovo flags drives through Tirana February 16, 2008. [Agencies]

Thaci made the statement on Saturday after a meeting with religious leaders in provincial capital city of Pristina.

The Serbian government is expected to declare Kosovo independence null and void as it violates Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It has also adopted a secret "Action Plan" to deal with the situation in case Kosovo declares independence.

On the world arena, Serbia's traditional ally Russia has pledged to oppose Kosovo's declaration of independence, while most European Union countries and the United States have offered quick recognition.

The EU agreed to send a 2,000-strong policing mission to Kosovo on Friday night.

Kosovo was a southern autonomous province within Serbia before the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Among its population of 2 million, over 90 percent are ethnic Albanians and Serbs make up about 7 percent.

The independence-seeking province has been run by the UN mission since 1999.

Bush backs Kosovo

Meanwhile, U.S. President George W Bush said Sunday it's in Kosovo's interest to be aligned with Europe, and that its status must be resolved.

Kosovo is expected to declare its independence from Serbia on Sunday. Its search for independence and recognition by the international community has pitted Kosovo against Russia and Serbia. Moscow says the move sets a dangerous precedent for other secessionist movements across the globe.

"We are heartened by the fact that the Kosovo government has clearly proclaimed its willingness and its desire to support Serbian rights in Kosovo," Bush said, adding that the U.S. will continue to work with its European allies to prevent a violent aftermath.


Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours