As expected Kosovo's parliament has endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia. The declaration, read by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, said Kosovo would be a democratic country that respected the rights of all ethnic communities. The US and a number of EU countries are expected to recognise Kosovo. Serbia's PM denounced the US for helping create a "false state". Russia, called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting.
The declaration was approved with a show of hands. No-one opposed it - Kosovo's 10 Serbian MPs had boycotted the assembly session in protest at the declaration.
"We have waited for this day for a very long time," Mr Thaci told parliament before reading the text, paying tribute to those who had died on the road to independence. From today, he said, Kosovo was "proud, independent and free. The independence of Kosovo marks the end of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia."
Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica blamed the US which he said was "ready to violate the international order for its own military interests. Today, this policy of force thinks that it has triumphed by establishing a false state.... Kosovo is Serbia,"
While the US, UK and most EU states are expected to recognise Kosovo, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia will not follow suit In the case of Cyprus the decision is presumably based on fears that the Turksih republic of North Cyprus will be granted international recognition. Romania’s opposition may have a lot to do with a change in the status of Transnitria, a breakaway state from its neighbour Moldova.
Whatever happens next, I hope to god it’s peaceful. I still fear we will see more bloodshed in the Balkans though.