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7 Apr, 2008 11:52

Kosovo signs constitution

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Serbian province of Kosovo have signed a draft constitution. The document, which has to be approved by the parliament, guarantees the rights of ethnic minorities.

The signing ceremony took place in Pristina, the capital of the breakaway province.

The main thesis of the 60-page document describes Kosovo as a multinational republic with an Albanian majority, where the belittling or disparaging of ethnic minorities is unlawful.

The draft constitution needs to be approved by the parliament before it passes into law. This is expected to take place in April before the constitution becomes effective in the middle of June.

The signing of the draft comes less than two months after Kosovo declared unilateral independence from Serbia.

So far 36 countries have recognised Kosovo as an independent state.

Serbia was supported by many other countries including Russia, China, Spain and Greece, in calling Kosovo's declaration of independence illegitimate and a severe breach of international law.