Kosovo Has 15th Independence Anniversary Amid Tensions
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
PRISTINA (Worthy News) – Kosovo, Europe’s youngest country, has launched festivities for the 15th anniversary of its independence from neighboring Serbia amid rising ethnic tensions.
A military parade, wreath-laying ceremonies, and a special Parliament session are part of the month-long celebrations, but minority Serbs were not expected to attend.
Neighboring Serbia and Kosovo’s Serbs do not recognize the independence of Kosovo, which they regard as a Serbian province.
Speaking in the capital, Pristina Prime Minister Albin Kurti described his nation of 610,000 people, one of Europe’s poorest, as “a project of peace, a contributor to peace, and a guarantor of peace.”
Yet not everyone is convinced following clashes between Serbs and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority. Serbia and Kosovo want membership in the European Union, but Brussels has told them they must first overcome their differences.
The United States and most Western powers are among the 117 countries recognizing Kosovo’s statehood.
Some 200 international organizations have accepted Kosovo as a member — although not the United Nations. Russia, a close ally of Serbia, has also not recognized Kosovo as a separate nation.
The West is concerned about Moscow’s growing influence in the Balkans as it already fights a war in Ukraine. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2010 that Kosovo’s
the independence declaration did not violate international law.
However, an international tribunal in The Hague has also launched a war crimes procedure against Kosovo’s former President Hashim Thaci and several other defendants who were deported to the Netherlands for trial. Thaci was an important member of the Kosovo Liberation Army which fought for Kosovo’s independence against Serb forces in the 1990s.
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