Kosovo declared 'fully independent'

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, (r) handshakes with International Civilian Representative, Pieter Feith Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (r) called the decision a 'historic turnaround' for the state

Related Stories

Western powers overseeing Kosovo have announced the end of their supervision of the tiny Balkan nation.

Kosovo had been overseen by a group made up of 23 EU countries, the US and Turkey since 2008, when it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.

US President Barack Obama said Monday marked a "historic milestone" for Kosovo, which he said had made "significant progress".

But Serbia dismissed the sovereignty announcement as meaningless.

It does not recognise the secession of Kosovo and regards it as part of Serbia.

"The supervision of Kosovo is finished," Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith, the highest international representative in Kosovo, told a press conference.

"The International Steering Group has decided to end the period of [Kosovo's] supervised independence," he said, speaking in Albanian.

Turnaround

Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci called the decision a "historic turnaround" for the state.

"This is an international success for Kosovo which confirms that the international community respects Kosovo," he said.

He acknowledged that there was still work to be done, above all integrating the Serb majority in northern Kosovo, which is out of the ethnic-Albanian government's control.

A Nato-led peacekeeping force in charge of security and a European mission on the rule of law will continue to operate in the country.

But Mr Obama said that the state had already made great strides.

"With the optimism, energy and determination characteristic of its people, Kosovo has made significant progress in solidifying the gains of independence and in building the institutions of a modern, multi-ethnic, inclusive and democratic state," he said.

More than 90 countries, including the US and most of the EU, have recognised Kosovo.

However many others, such as Russia, Georgia and China, have refused to do so. Some fear encouraging secessionist movements in their own countries.

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic stressed Belgrade would never recognise Kosovo's independence "supervised or unsupervised", and dismissed the decision as meaningless.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage


  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world


  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop


  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show

Programmes

  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach - why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.