Kosovo

Introduction Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century, but did not fully incorporate them into the Serbian realm until the early 13th century. The Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule, during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War (1912), and after World War II (1945) the government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia led by Josip TITO reorganized Kosovo as an autonomous province within the constituent republic of Serbia. Over the next four decades, Kosovo Albanians lobbied for greater autonomy and Kosovo was granted the status almost equal to that of a republic in the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution. Despite the legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s leading to nationalist riots and calls for Kosovo's independence. Serbs in Kosovo complained of mistreatment and Serb nationalist leaders, such as Slobodan MILOSEVIC, exploited those charges to win support among Serbian voters, many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland. Under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia instituted a new constitution in 1989 that drastically curtailed Kosovo's autonomy and Kosovo Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum that declared Kosovo independent from Serbia. The MILOSEVIC regime carried out repressive measures against the Albanians in the early 1990s as the unofficial government of Kosovo, led by Ibrahim RUGOVA, tried to use passive resistance to gain international assistance and recognition of its demands for independence. In 1995, Albanians dissatisfied with RUGOVA's nonviolent strategy created the Kosovo Liberation Army and launched an insurgency. In 1998, MILOSEVIC authorized a counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians by Serbian military, police, and paramilitary forces. The international community tried to resolve the conflict peacefully, but MILOSEVIC rejected the proposed international settlement - the Rambouillet Accords - leading to a three-month NATO bombing of Serbia beginning in March 1999, which forced Serbia to withdraw its military and police forces from Kosovo in June 1999. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosovo's future status. Under the resolution, Serbia's territorial integrity was protected, but it was UNMIK who assumed responsibility for governing Kosovo. In 2001, UNMIK promulgated a Constitutional Framework, which established Kosovo's Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), and in succeeding years UNMIK increasingly devolved responsibilities to the PISG. A UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo's future status. Negotiations held intermittently between 2006 and 2007 on issues related to decentralization, religious heritage, and minority rights failed to yield a resolution between Serbia's willingness to grant a high degree of autonomy and the Albanians' call for full independence for Kosovo. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared its independence from Serbia.
History

The formation of the Republic of Kosovo is a result of the turmoils of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, particularly the Kosovo War of 1996 to 1999, but it is suffused with issues dating back to the rise of nationalism in the Balkans under Ottoman rule in the 19th century, Albanian vs. Serbian nationalisms in particular, the latter notably surrounding the Battle of Kosovo eponymous of the Kosovo region.

Early history

During the Neolithic period, the region of Kosovo lay within the extent of the Vinča-Turdaş culture. In the 4th to 3rd centuries BC, it was the territory of the Thraco-Illyrian tribe of the Dardani, forming part of the kingdom of Illyria. Illyria was conquered by Rome in the 160s BC, and made the Roman province of Illyricum in 59 BC. The Kosovo region became part of Moesia Superior in AD 87. The Slavic migrations reached the Balkans in the 6th to 7th century. The area was absorbed into the Bulgarian Empire in the 850s, where Christianity and Slavic culture was cemented in the region. It was re-taken by the Byzantines after 1018. As the center of Slavic resistance to Constantinople in the region, it often switched between Serbian and Bulgarian rule on one hand and Byzantine on the other until the Serb principality of Rascia conquered it by the end of the 11th century.

Fully absorbed into the Serbian Kingdom until the end of the 12th, it became the secular and spiritual center of the Serbian medieval state of the Nemanyiden dynasty in the 13th century, with the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Peć, while Prizren was the secular center. The zenith was reached with the formation of a Serbian Empire in 1346, which after 1371 transformed from a centralized absolutist medieval monarchy to a feudal realm. Kosovo became the hereditary land of the House of Branković and Vučitrn and Pristina flourished.

In the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, Ottoman forces defeated a coalition led by Lazar Hrebeljanović. In 1402, a Serbian Despotate was raised and Kosovo became its richest territory, famous for mines. The local House of Branković came to prominence as the local lords of Kosovo, under Vuk Branković, with the temporary fall of the Serbian Despotate in 1439. During the first fall of Serbia, Novo Brdo and Kosovo offered last resistance to the invading Ottomans in 1441; in 1455, it was finally and fully conquered by the Ottoman Empire.

Ottoman Kosovo (1455 to 1912)

Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1455 to 1912, at first as part of the eyalet of Rumelia, and from 1864 as a separate province.

Kosovo was briefly taken by the Austrian forces during the Great War of 1683–1699 with help of 6,000 led by Pjetër Bogdani. In 1690, the Serbian Patriarch of Peć Arsenije III led 37,000 families out of Kosovo. Other migrations of Orthodox Christians from the Kosovo area continued throughout the 18th century. In 1766, the Ottomans abolished the Patriarchate of Peć and the position of Christians in Kosovo deteriorated, including full imposition of jizya (taxation of non-Muslims). The final result of four and a half centuries of Muslim rule was a marked decline in the previously dominant Slavic Christian demographic element in Kosovo. In contrast, many Albanian chiefs converted to Islam and gained prominent positions in the Turkish regimen[5]. On the whole, "Albanians had little cause of unrest" and "if anything, grew important in Ottoman internal affairs"[6], moving in to inhabit lands vacated by fleeing Christians.

In the 19th century, Kosovo along with the rest of the Balkans saw an "awakening" of ethnic nationalism, in the case of Kosovo ethnic Albanian nationalism, including Romantic notions of ancient Illyria.

In 1871, a Serbian meeting was held in Prizren at which the possible retaking and reintegration of Kosovo and the rest of "Old Serbia" was discussed, as the Principality of Serbia itself had already made plans for expansions towards Ottoman territory. In 1878, a Peace Accord was drawn that left the cities of Pristina and Kosovska Mitrovica under civil Serbian control, and outside Ottoman jurisdiction, while the rest of Kosovo remained under Ottoman control. As a response, ethnic Albanians formed the League of Prizren, pursuing political aspirations of unifying the Albanian people under the Ottoman umbrella. By the end of the 19th century the Albanians replaced the Serbs as the majority population people within what presently composes Kosovo and Metohija, though not the entire Ottoman Province.

20th century

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 recolonization of Kosovo.[7] 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

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. The ethnic balance of Kosovo tilted as the number of Albanians tripled, rising from almost 75% to over 90%, but the number of Serbs barely increased, dropping from 15% to 8% of the total population. Even though Kosovo was the least developed area of the former Yugoslavia, the living and economic prospects and freedoms were far greater than under the totalitarian Hoxha regime in Albania. Beginning in March 1981, Kosovar Albanian students organized protests seeking that Kosovo become a republic within Yugoslavia.[9] During the 1980s, ethnic tensions continued with frequent violent outbreaks against Serbs and Yugoslav state authorities resulting in increased emigration of Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic groups.[10][11] The Yugoslav leadership tried to suppress protests of Kosovo Serbs seeking protection from ethnic discrimination and violence.[12]

Disintegration of Yugoslavia and Kosovo War

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.[13] On June 28, 1989, Milošević 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 Milošević consolidate his authority in Serbia.[14] In 1989, Milošević, 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.[4], 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.[citation needed]

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,[15] combined with continued skirmishes between Albanian guerrillas and Yugoslav forces resulted in a massive displacement of population in Kosovo.[16] 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.[17] 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

After the war ended, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1244 that placed Kosovo under transitional UN administration (UNMIK) and authorized KFOR, a NATO-led peacekeeping force. Resolution 1244 also delivered that Kosovo will have autonomy within Federal Republic of Yugoslavia[19] (today legal successor of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is Republic of Serbia).

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.[20] The current number of internally displaced persons is disputed, with estimates ranging from 65,000[25] 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.[32]

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.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35] 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.

2008 declaration of independence

The Kosovar Assembly approved a declaration of independence on 17 February 2008. Over the following days, several countries (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.[citation needed]

Of Kosovo's immediate neighbour states (other than Serbia), only Albania recognizes the declaration of independence. Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary, all neighbours of Serbia, announced in a joint statement that they would also recognise the declaration.

Geography Location: Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia
Geographic coordinates: 42 35 N, 21 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 10,887 sq km
land: 10,887 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Delaware
Land boundaries: total: 702 km
border countries: Albania 112 km, Macedonia 159 km, Montenegro 79 km, Serbia 352 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns; Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation; maximum rainfall between October and December
Terrain: flat fluvial basin with an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Drini i Bardhe/Beli Drim 297 m (located on the border with Albania)
highest point: Gjeravica/Deravica 2,565 m
Natural resources: nickel, lead, zinc, magnesium, lignite, kaolin, chrome, bauxite
Politics

The largest political party in Kosovo, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), has its origins in the 1990s non-violent resistance movement to Miloševic's rule. The party was led by Ibrahim Rugova until his death in 2006. The two next largest parties have their roots in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA): the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) led by former KLA leader Hashim Thaci and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) led by former KLA commander Ramush Haradinaj. Kosovo publisher Veton Surroi formed his own political party in 2004 named "Ora." Kosovo Serbs formed the Serb List for Kosovo and Metohija (SLKM) in 2004, but have boycotted Kosovo's institutions and never taken their seats in the Kosovo Assembly.

In November 2001, the OSCE supervised the first elections for the Kosovo Assembly.[citation needed] After that election, Kosovo's political parties formed an all-party unity coalition and elected Ibrahim Rugova as President and Bajram Rexhepi (PDK) as Prime Minister. After Kosovo-wide elections in October 2004, the LDK and AAK formed a new governing coalition that did not include PDK and Ora. This coalition agreement resulted in Ramush Haradinaj (AAK) becoming Prime Minister, while Ibrahim Rugova retained the position of President. PDK and Ora were critical of the coalition agreement and have since frequently accused the current government of corruption.

Ramush Haradinaj resigned the post of Prime Minister after he was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in March 2005. He was replaced by Bajram Kosumi (AAK).[citation needed] But in a political shake-up after the death of President Rugova in January 2006, Kosumi himself was replaced by former Kosovo Protection Corps commander Agim Ceku. Ceku has won recognition for his outreach to minorities, but Serbia has been critical of his wartime past as military leader of the KLA and claims he is still not doing enough for Kosovo Serbs. The Kosovo Assembly elected Fatmir Sejdiu, a former LDK parliamentarian, president after Rugova's death. Slaviša Petkovic, Minister for Communities and Returns, was previously the only ethnic Serb in the government, but resigned in November 2006 amid allegations that he misused ministry funds. Today two of the total thirteen ministries in Kosovo's Government have ministers from the minorities. Branislav Grbic, ethnic Serb, leads Minister of Returns and Sadik Idriz, ethnic Bosnjak, leads Ministry of Health

Parliamentary elections were held on 17 November 2007. After early results, Hashim Thaçi who was on course to gain 35 per cent of the vote, claimed victory for PDK, the Albanian Democratic Party, and stated his intention to declare independence. Thaci is likely to form a coalition with current President Fatmir Sejdiu's Democratic League which was in second place with 22 percent of the vote. The turnout at the election was particularly low with most Serbs refusing to vote.

People Population: 2,126,708 (2007 est.)
Nationality: noun: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovac (Serbian)
adjective: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovski (Serbian)
note: Kosovan, a neutral term, is sometimes also used as a noun or adjective
Ethnic groups: Albanians 88%, Serbs 7%, other 5% (Bosniak, Gorani, Roma, Turk, Ashkali, Egyptian)
Religions: Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholic
Languages: Albanian (official), Serbian (official), Bosniak, Turkish, Roma
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo
conventional short form: Kosovo
local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosova)
local short form: Kosova (Kosovo)
former: Kosovo and Metohija Autonomous Province
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Pristina (Prishtine)
geographic coordinates: 42 40 N, 21 10 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 30 municipalities (komunat, singular - komuna in Albanian; opstine, singular - opstina in Serbian); Decan (Decani), Dragash (Dragas), Ferizaj (Urosevac), Fushe Kosove (Kosovo Polje), Gjakove (Dakovica), Gllogoc/Drenas (Glogovac), Gjilan (Gnjilane), Istog (Istok), Kacanik, Kamenice/Dardana (Kamenica), Kline (Klina), Leposaviq (Leposavic), Lipjan (Lipljan), Malisheve (Malisevo), Mitrovice (Mitrovica), Novoberde (Novo Brdo), Obiliq (Obilic), Peje (Pec), Podujeve (Podujevo), Prishtine (Pristina), Prizren, Rahovec (Orahovac), Shtime (Stimlje), Shterpce (Strpce), Skenderaj (Srbica), Suhareke (Suva Reka), Viti (Vitina), Vushtrri (Vucitrn), Zubin Potok, Zvecan
Independence: 17 February 2008 (from Serbia)
Constitution: Constitutional Framework of 2001; note - the Kosovo Government is charged with putting forward an AHTISAARI (UN Special Envoy) Plan-compliant draft of a new constitution soon after independence
Legal system: evolving legal system based on terms of UN Special Envoy Martti AHTISAARI's Plan for Kosovo's supervised independence
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Fatmir SEJDIU (since 10 February 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Hashim THACI (since 9 January 2008)
cabinet: ministers; elected by the Kosovo Assembly
elections: the president is elected for a 5-year term by the Kosovo Assembly; election last held 9 January 2008 (next to be held by NA 2013); the prime minister is elected by the Kosovo Assembly
election results: Fatmir SEJDIU reelected president; first round: Fatmir SEDIU 62, Naim MALOKU 37; second round: Fatmir SEDIU 61, Naim MALOKU 37; and Hashim THACI elected to be prime minister by the Assembly
Legislative branch: unicameral Kosovo Assembly of the Provisional Government (120 seats; 100 seats directly elected, 10 seats for Serbs, 10 seats for other minorities; to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 17 November 2007 (next to be held NA 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - PDK 34.3%, LDK 22.6%, AKR 12.3%, LDD 10.0%, AAK 9.6%, other 11.2%; seats by party - PDK 37, LDK 25, AKR 13, LDD 11, AAK 10, other 4
Judicial branch: Supreme Court judges are appointed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG); district courts judges are appointed by the SRSG; municipal courts judges are appointed by the SRSG
note: after the termination of UNMIK's mandate, the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) will propose to the president candidates for appointment or reappointment as judges and prosecutors; the KJC is also responsible for decisions on the promotion and transfer of judges and disciplinary proceedings against judges; at least 15% of Supreme Court and district court judges shall be from nonmajority communities
Political parties and leaders: Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo or PShDK [Mark KRASNIQI]; Alliance for the Future of Kosovo or AAK [Ramush HARADINAJ]; Alliance of Independent Social Democrats of Kososvo and Metohija or SDSKIM [Slavisa PETKOVIC]; Autonomous Liberal Party of SLS [Slobodan PETROVIC]; Bosniak Vakat Coalition [Dzezair MURATI]; Citizens' Initiative of Gora or GIG [Murselj HALILI]; Council of Independent Social Democrats of Kosovo or SNSDKIM [Ljubisa ZIVIC]; Democratic League of Dardania or LDD [Nexhat DACI]; Democratic League of Kosovo or LDK [Fatmir SEJDIU]; Democratic Party of Ashkali of Kosovo or PDAK [Sabit RAHMANI]; Democratic Party of Kosovo or PDK [Hashim THACI]; Kosovo Democratic Turkish Party of KDTP [Mahir YAGCILAR]; New Democratic Initiative of Kosovo or IRDK [Xhevdet NEZIRAJ]; New Democratic Party or ND [Branislav GRBIC]; New Kosovo Alliance or AKR [Behxhet PACOLLI]; Popular Movement of Kosovo or LPK [Emrush XHEMAJLI]; Reform Party Ora; Serb National Party or SNS [Mihailo SCEPANOVIC]; Serbian Kosovo and Metohija Party or SKMS [Dragisa MIRIC]; United Roma Party of Kosovo or PREBK [Haxhi Zylfi MERXHA]; Democratic Action Party or SDA [Numan BALIC]; Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija [Oliver IVANOVIC]; Serbian National Council of Northern Kosovo and Metohija or SNV [Milan IVANOVIC]; Democratic Party of Bosniaks [Dzezair MURAIT]; Democratic Party Vatan [Sadik IDRIZI]; Gorani Citizens Initiative [Mursel HALJILJI]; Serbian People Party [Mihailo SCEPANOVIC]; Serbian Democratic Party of Kosovo and Metohija [Slavisa PETKOVIC]; Serb Liberal Party [Slobodan PETROVIC]; Independent League of Social-Democrats of Kosovo and Metohija [Ljubisa ZIVIC]
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Tina KAIDANOW
embassy: Arberia/Dragodan, Nazim Hikmet 30, Pristina, Kosovo
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: 381 38 59 59 3000
FAX: 381 38 549 890
Flag description: centered on a dark blue field is the geographical shape of Kosovo in a gold color surmounted by six white, five-pointed stars - each representing one of the major ethnic groups of Kosovo - arrayed in a slight arc
Culture

Cinema and media

Although in Kosovo the music is diverse, authentic Albanian music (see World Music) and Serbian music do still exist. Albanian music is characterized by the use of the çiftelia (an authentic Albanian instrument), mandolin, mandola and percussion. Classical music is also well-known in Kosovo and has been taught at universities (at the University of Prishtina Faculty of Arts and the University of Priština at Kosovska Mitrovica

Sports

Several sports federations have been formed in Kosovo within the framework of Law No. 2003/24 "Law on Sport" passed by the Assembly of Kosovo in 2003. The law formally established a national Olympic Committee, regulated the establishment of sports federations and established guidelines for sports clubs. At present only some of the sports federations established have gained international recognition.

Economy Economy - overview: Over the past few years Kosovo's economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany and Switzerland - account for about 30% of GDP. Kosovo's citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $1800 - about one-third the level of neighboring Albania. Unemployment - at more than 40% of the population - is a severe problem that encourages outward migration. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. Economic growth is largely driven by the private sector - mostly small-scale retail businesses. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize 50% of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by number, and over 90% of SOEs by value. Minerals and metals - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once formed the backbone of industry, but output has declined because investment has been insufficient to replace ageing Eastern Bloc equipment. Technical and financial problems in the power sector also impedes industrial development. The US has worked with the World Bank to prepare a commercial tender for the development of new power generating and mining capacity. The official currency of Kosovo is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used in the Serb enclaves. Kosovo's tie to the euro has helped keep inflation low. Kosovo has maintained a budget surplus as a result of efficient tax collection and inefficient budget execution. While maintaining ultimate oversight, UNMIK continues to work with the EU and with Kosovo's government to accelerate economic growth, lower unemployment, and attract foreign investment. In order to help integrate Kosovo into regional economic structures, UNMIK signed (on behalf of Kosovo) its accession to the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006. In February 2008, UNMIK also represented Kosovo at the newly established Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).
GDP (purchasing power parity): $4 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $3.237 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 20%
industry: 20%
services: 60% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 832,000 (June 2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 21.4%
industry: NA
services: NA (2006 est,)
Unemployment rate: 43% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 37% (2007 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 30 (FY05/06)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 29% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget: revenues: $1.364 billion
expenditures: $1.008 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: NA
Agriculture - products: NA
Industries: mineral mining, construction materials, base metals, leather, machinery, appliances
Electricity - production: 3.996 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - consumption: 4.281 billion kWh (2006)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2007)
Oil - consumption: NA bbl
Oil - proved reserves: NA bbl
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2007)
Natural gas - proved reserves: NA cu m
Current account balance: $-58.3 million (2007)
Exports: $148.4 million (2007)
Exports - commodities: mining and processed metal products, scrap metals, leather products, machinery, appliances
Exports - partners: Central Europe Free Trade Area (CFTA) 56% (2006)
Imports: $NA
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, wood, petroleum, chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment
Imports - partners: EU 35%, Macedonia 15%, Serbia 13%, Turkey 8% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $324 million (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $NA
Debt - external: according to the national bank of Serbia, Kosovo's external debt was around $1.2 billion; Kosovo was willing to accept around $900 million (2007)
Currency (code): euro (EUR); Serbian Dinar (RSD) is also in circulation
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007)
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 106,300 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 562,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 10 (2008)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2008)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 4
under 914 m: 4 (2008)
Heliports: 2 (2008)
Railways: total: 430 km (2005)
Roadways: total: 1,925 km (2005)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaring itself as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers under UNMIK authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Kosovo authorities object to alignment of the Kosovo boundary with Macedonia in accordance with the 2000 Macedonia-Serbia and Montenegro delimitation agreement
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDP's: 21,000