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11 Feb, 2008 03:29

Kosovo to declare independence within days

Speaking from Pristina, Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci announced he'll be declaring independence within a week. If a declaration of independence is made by Kosovo, it will be unilateral. Negotiations with Serbia have failed to produce any result.

Both the Serbian and Kosovan Premiers have made statements to the press.

“We have set a date, but the reason for of not announcing it is that we are continuing to look for support and recognition from other EU countries. Since we have 100 countries backing us and supporting us, we can now move forward and I can say that this weekend will be the last one before Kosovo declares independence,” said Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo

“We are immediately going  to oppose this decision (the announcement that Kosovo will declare independence) and we are going to use all legal and diplomatic instruments in terms of defending our position, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country. I am repeating again, we are going to react, not make war,” said Boris Tadic, Serbian President.

Meanwhile, not everyone living in the province is enthusiastic about the forthcoming declaration of independence. Some believe it'll create further instability and uncertainty.

To understand the real situation of Kosovo, it’s best to get out of the capital city, Pristina.

During the Kosovo war of 1999 all the infrastructure in the area of the Plemitin camp was destroyed by the NATO bombardment. So far nothing’s been rebuilt. The Albanians blame the Serbs for the situation, while the Serbs blame the Albanians and NATO.

Five per cent of the population belong to minority groups. 

Ramadan Lahu is one of the Ashkali Roma. Before the war his family lived in Pristina and was on good terms with their Serb and Albanian neighbours. Today he lives among the ruins and squalor of a refugee camp. It’s still too dangerous for him to visit his house down the road, which was burnt down by the local Albanians when they came to power.

One sixth of the Roma community has disappeared from the province.