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Kosovo’s parliament votes to create a 5,000-strong army despite Serbia opposition

Kosovo’s parliament voted on Friday to create a 5,000-strong standing army. The move came a week after Serbia’s premier suggested it could provoke military intervention by Belgrade. The voting, coming 20 years after the Kosovo Albanians’ uprising against Serbia, was lauded as “historic” by the US but NATO criticized it as unhelpful in efforts to ease tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, Reuters said. Legislation to transform the lightly armed Kosovo Security Force, which was created mainly for crisis response and civil defense, into an army was approved by 105 deputies in the 120-seat assembly. Eleven minority Serb deputies boycotted the vote. Serbia, which does not recognize the independence of its province, has warned that a national Kosovo army could destabilize the Western Balkans.