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"Kosova" and "Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija" redirect here. For other uses, see Kosova (disambiguation) and Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (disambiguation).
"Republic of Kosova" redirects here. For the former entity of the same name, see Republic of Kosova (1990–2000). For other uses, see Kosovo (disambiguation).
Capital Pristina (also Prishtina, Pri¨tina)
42°40′N 21°10′E / 42.667, 21.167
Ethnic groups (2007) 92% Albanians
2.7% others 
- Total 10,908 km²
4,212 sq mi
- Water (%) n/a
- 2007 estimate 2,100,000
- 1991 census 1,956,1961
- Density 220/km²
GDP (PPP) 2007 estimate
- Total $4 billion (N/A)
- Per capita $1,800 (151st)
GDP (nominal) 2007 estimate
- Total $3.237 billion (N/A)
- Per capita $1,500 (119th)
Currency Euro (¤) (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD None assigned
Calling code [[+3812]]
1 The census is a reconstruction; most of the ethnic Albanian majority boycotted.
2 Officially +381; some mobile phone providers use +377 (Monaco) or +386 (Slovenia) instead.
Republika e Kosovës
Република Косово / Republika Kosovo
Republic of Kosovo
Location of Kosovo in Europe
(and largest city) Pristina (Prishtina, Pri¨tina)
Official languages Albanian, Serbian
Recognised regional languages Turkish, Gorani, Romani, Bosnian
Government Parliamentary republic
- Special Representative of the Secretary-General Joachim Rücker
- President Fatmir Sejdiu (LDK)
- Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi (PDK)
Independence1 from Serbia
- Declared 17 February 2008
1 Independence has only been partially recognised internationally.
Kosovo, UN protectorate
Kosovo within Serbia
- Special Representative Joachim Rücker
- President Fatmir Sejdiu
UN protectorate UN administration of Kosovo, an autonomous province of Serbia
- UNSCR 1244 10 June 1999
- Joint Kosovar/UN administration May 2000
- EULEX 16 February 2008
Currency Euro (EUR)
History of Kosovo
Early history (before 850)
Moesia (AD 6 to 850)
Middle Ages (850 to 1455)
First Bulgarian Empire (850 to 1180)
Battle of Kosovo
Ottoman Kosovo (1455 to 1912)
Eyalet of Rumelia
Vilayet of Kosovo
First Balkan War
Kosovo in the Kingdoms of Serbia and SHS/Yugoslavia
AP Kosovo and Metohija (1946 to 1974)
SAP Kosovo (1974 to 1990)
Kosovo War (1996 to 1999)
UN administration (since 1999)
Kosovo (since February 17, 2008)
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Kosovo Vilayet, 1875-1878
Ethnographic map of the late 19th century Balkans and western Asia Minor, Atlas Général Vidal-Lablache, Paris, 1898
Boundaries on the Balkans after the First and Second Balkan War.
Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo of Socialist Serbia inside Socialist Yugoslavia, 1974-1990.Kosovo (Albanian: Kosova; Serbian: Косово и Метохија; Kosovo i Metohija) is a disputed territory in the Balkans. It has been part of the lands of Dardani in the years BC, Roman, Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian and Ottoman empire, then the Kingdom of Serbia, Italian Empire and Yugoslavia in the 20th century. Following the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia the territory came under the interim administration of the United Nations (UNMIK).
In February 2008, the Assembly of Kosovo declared Kosovo's independence as the Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës). Its independence is recognized by some countries and opposed by others, including the Republic of Serbia, which continues to claim sovereignty over it as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (Serbian: Аутономна Покрајина Косово и Метохија / Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo i Metohija).
Kosovo borders Albania to the west, Central Serbia to the north and east, the Republic of Macedonia to the south, and Montenegro to the northwest. The largest city and the capital of Kosovo is Pristina (also Prishtina, Pri¨tina), while other cities include Peć (Peja), Prizren, and Mitrovica.
Balkan Wars to World War I
The Young Turk movement supported a centralist rule and opposed any sort of autonomy desired by Kosovars, and particularly the Albanians. In 1910, an Albanian uprising spread from Pristina and lasted until the Ottoman Sultan's visit to Kosovo in June of 1911. In 1912, during the Balkan Wars, most of Kosovo was captured by the Kingdom of Serbia, while the region of Metohija (Albanian: Dukagjini Valley) was taken by the Kingdom of Montenegro. An exodus of the local Albanian population occurred. This was described by Leon Trotsky, who was a reporter for the Pravda newspaper at the time. The Serbian authorities planned a re-colonization of Kosovo. Numerous colonist Serb families moved into Kosovo, equalizing the demographic balance between Albanians and Serbs. Kosovo's status within Serbia was finalised the following year at the Treaty of London.
In the winter of 1915-1916, during World War I, Kosovo saw a large exodus of the Serbian army which became known as the Great Serbian Retreat, as Kosovo was occupied by Bulgarians and Austro-Hungarians. In 1918, the Serbian Army pushed the Central Powers out of Kosovo. After World War I ended, the Monarchy was then transformed into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians on 1 December 1918.
Kingdom of Yugoslavia and World War II
The 1918–1929 period of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians witnessed a rise of the Serbian population in the region. Kosovo was split into four counties, three being a part of Serbia (Zvečan, Kosovo and southern Metohija) and one of Montenegro (northern Metohija). However, the new administration system since 26 April 1922 split Kosovo among three Areas of the Kingdom: Kosovo, Rascia and Zeta. In 1929, the Kingdom was transformed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the territories of Kosovo were reorganised among the Banate of Zeta, the Banate of Morava and the Banate of Vardar. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia lasted until the World War II Axis invasion of 1941, when the greatest part of Kosovo became a part of Italian-controlled Albania, and smaller bits by the Tsardom of Bulgaria and German-occupied Military Administration of Serbia. After numerous uprisings of Partisans led by Fadil Hoxha, Kosovo was liberated after 1944 with the help of the Albanian partisans of the Comintern, and became a province of Serbia within the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia.
Kosovo in Yugoslavia
Main articles: Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (1946-1974) and Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo
The province was first formed in 1945 as the Autonomous Kosovo-Metohian Area to protect its regional Albanian majority within the People's Republic of Serbia as a member of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia under the leadership of the former Partisan leader, Josip Broz Tito. After Yugoslavia's name change to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia's to the Socialist Republic of Serbia in 1953, Kosovo gained limited internal autonomy in the 1960s. In the 1974 constitution, the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo's government received more powers, including the highest governmental titles – President and Prime Minister and a seat in the Federal Presidency which made it a de facto Republic within the Federation, but remaining a Socialist Autonomous Province within the Socialist Republic of Serbia. (Similar rights were extended to Vojvodina). In Kosovo Serbo-Croatian, Albanian and Turkish were defined as official languages on the provincial level. Du to high birthrates the number of Albanians increased from 75% to over 90% despite immigration from both sides in search of a better life in the West. In contrast, the number of Serbs barely increased, and in fact dropped from 15% to 8% of the total population, as many Serbs departed from Kosovo as a response to the tight economic climate and increased incidents of alleged harassment from their Albanian neighbors. While there was tension, charges of "genocide" and planned harassments have been debunked as an excuse to revoke Kosovo's autonomy. For example in 1986 ""the Serbian Orthodox Church published an official, though false, claim that Kosovo Serbs were being subjected to an Albanian program of 'Genocide'. Even though they were disproven by police statistics, the received wide play in the Serbian press and that lead to further ethnic problems and eventual removal of Kosovo's status. Beginning in March 1981, Kosovar Albanian students organized protests seeking that Kosovo become a republic within Yugoslavia and human rights. During the 1980s, ethnic tensions continued with frequent violent outbreaks against Yugoslav state authorities resulting in a further increase in emigration of Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic groups. The Yugoslav leadership tried to suppress protests of Kosovo Serbs seeking protection from ethnic discrimination and violence.
Disintegration of Yugoslavia and Kosovo War
Main articles: Kosovo War, Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (1990-1999), and Republic of Kosova (1990–2000)
Further information: Disintegration of Yugoslavia
Inter-ethnic tensions continued to worsen in Kosovo throughout the 1980s. The 1986 SANU Memorandum warned that Yugoslavia was suffering from ethnic strife and the disintegration of the Yugoslav economy into separate economic sectors and territories, which was transforming the federal state into a loose confederation. On June 28, 1989, Milo¨ević delivered a speech in front of a large number of Serb citizens at the main celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, held at Gazimestan. Many think that this speech helped Milo¨ević consolidate his authority in Serbia. In 1989, Milo¨ević, employing a mix of intimidation and political maneuvering, drastically reduced Kosovo's special autonomous status within Serbia. Soon thereafter, Kosovo Albanians organized a non-violent separatist movement, employing widespread civil disobedience, with the ultimate goal of achieving the independence of Kosovo. On July 2, 1990, an unconstitutional Kosovo parliament declared Kosovo an independent country, the Republic of Kosova. The Republic of Kosova was formally disbanded in 2000 when its institutions were replaced by the Joint Interim Administrative Structure established by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). During its lifetime, the Republic of Kosova was only recognized by Albania.
The Kosovo War was initially a conflict between Serbian and Yugoslav security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group identified by some as terrorist, seeking secession from the former Yugoslavia. In 1998, Western interest had increased and the Serbian authorities were compelled to sign a unilateral cease-fire and partial retreat. Under an agreement devised by Richard Holbrooke, OSCE observers moved into Kosovo to monitor the ceasefire, while Yugoslav military forces partly pulled out of Kosovo. However, the ceasefire was systematically broken shortly thereafter by KLA forces, which again provoked harsh counterattacks by the Serbs.
The Serbs then began to escalate the conflict, using military and paramilitary forces in another ethnic cleansing campaign this time against the Kosovar Albanians. An estimated 300,000 refugees were displaced during the winter of 1998, many left without adequate food or shelter, precipitating a humanitarian crisis and calls for intervention by the international community.
NATO intervention between March 24 and June 10, 1999, combined with continued skirmishes between Albanian guerrillas and Yugoslav forces resulted in a massive displacement of population in Kosovo. During the conflict, roughly a million ethnic Albanians fled or were forcefully driven from Kosovo. Altogether, more than 11,000 deaths have been reported to Carla Del Ponte by her prosecutors. Some 3,000 people are still missing, of which 2,500 are Albanian, 400 Serbs and 100 Roma.
The UN administration period
Main articles: Kosovo (UNMIK) and Kosovo status process
On June 10, 1999, the UN Security Council passed UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which placed Kosovo under transitional UN administration (UNMIK) and authorized KFOR, a NATO-led peacekeeping force. Resolution 1244 provided that Kosovo would have autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and affirmed Yugoslavia's territorial integrity. It is important to note that the Republic of Serbia is the legally recognized successor of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Some 200,000-280,000, representing the majority of the Serb population, left when the Serbian forces left. There was also some looting of Serb properties and even violence against some of those Serbs and Roma who remained. The current number of internally displaced persons is disputed, with estimates ranging from 65,000 to 250,000. Many displaced Serbs are afraid to return to their homes, even with UNMIK protection. Around 120,000-150,000 Serbs remain in Kosovo, but are subject to ongoing harassment and discrimination. According to Amnesty International, the aftermath of the war resulted in an increase in the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation.
In 2001, UNMIK promulgated a Constitutional Framework for Kosovo that established the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), including an elected Kosovo Assembly, Presidency and office of Prime Minister. Kosovo held its first free, Kosovo-wide elections in late 2001 (municipal elections had been held the previous year).
In March 2004, Kosovo experienced its worst inter-ethnic violence since the Kosovo War. The unrest in 2004 was sparked by a series of minor events that soon cascaded into large-scale riots.
International negotiations began in 2006 to determine the final status of Kosovo, as envisaged under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. The UN-backed talks, lead by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari, began in February 2006. Whilst progress was made on technical matters, both parties remained diametrically opposed on the question of status itself.
In February 2007, Ahtisaari delivered a draft status settlement proposal to leaders in Belgrade and Pristina, the basis for a draft UN Security Council Resolution which proposes 'supervised independence' for the province. A draft resolution, backed by the United States, the United Kingdom and other European members of the Security Council, was presented and rewritten four times to try to accommodate Russian concerns that such a resolution would undermine the principle of state sovereignty. Russia, which holds a veto in the Security Council as one of five permanent members, had stated that it would not support any resolution which was not acceptable to both Belgrade and Kosovo Albanians. Whilst most observers had, at the beginning of the talks, anticipated independence as the most likely outcome, others have suggested that a rapid resolution might not be preferable.
After many weeks of discussions at the UN, the United States, United Kingdom and other European members of the Security Council formally 'discarded' a draft resolution backing Ahtisaari's proposal on 20 July 2007, having failed to secure Russian backing. Beginning in August, a "Troika" consisting of negotiators from the European Union (Wolfgang Ischinger), the United States (Frank Wisner) and Russia (Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko) launched a new effort to reach a status outcome acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina. Despite Russian disapproval, the U.S., the United Kingdom, and France appeared likely to recognize Kosovar independence. A declaration of independence by Kosovar Albanian leaders was postponed until the end of the Serbian presidential elections (4 February 2008). Most EU members and the US had feared that a premature declaration could boost support in Serbia for the ultra-nationalist candidate, Tomislav Nikolić.
States that have recognised KosovoMain articles: 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence, International reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence, and 2008 Post declaration of independence unrest in Kosovo
The Kosovar Assembly approved a declaration of independence on 17 February 2008. Over the following days, several states (the United States, Turkey, Albania, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Republic of China (Taiwan), Australia and others) announced their recognition, despite protests by Serbia in the UN Security Council.
The UN Security Council remains divided on the question (as of 25 February 2008). Of the five members with veto power, USA, UK, and France recognized the declaration of independence, and Russia and the People's Republic of China consider it illegal. As of 28 March 2008, no member-country of CIS, CSTO or SCO has recognized Kosovo as independent.
The European Union has no official position towards Kosovo's status, but has decided to deploy the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo to ensure a continuation of international civil presence in Kosovo. As of today, most of member-countries of NATO, EU, WEU and OECD have recognized Kosovo as independent.
Of Kosovo's immediate neighbour states, only Albania recognizes the declaration of independence. Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary, all neighbours of Serbia, announced in a joint statement that they recognise the declaration.