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Kosovo celebrates 10th anniversary of independence

Kosovo has been holding two days of celebrations to mark one decade of independence from Serbia.

The Muslim-majority country declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, nine years after NATO conducted a 78-day airstrike campaign against Serbia to stop a bloody crackdown against ethnic Albanians.

Celebrations began on Saturday but the main independence ceremony is taking place on Sunday.

Kosovo’s independence is currently recognized by 117 countries, including the United States and most members of the European Union (EU).

Five of the 28 EU member countries — namely Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania, and Greece — haven’t recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

Serbia still sees Kosovo as part of its territory and has the support of Russia and China.

Meanwhile, around 300 people took to the streets of Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade, on Saturday to oppose the independence of Kosovo.

The protesters sang patriotic songs about Kosovo and held Serbian flags as well as giant flags of Kosovo with “No surrender” written on it. They chanted “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia.”

The Ibar River which divides the town of Mitrovica between Serbia and Kosovo, is pictured on February 1, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

In the border city of Mitrovica, which is divided between Serbia and Kosovo, posters declaring “10 years of the occupation” were put up in many places, reports said.

“Unfortunately, the Serb community [in Kosovo] has not made up their mind yet about this independence. Neither is Belgrade certain how they see the status of Kosovo,” Mitrovica resident Branislav Krstic said.

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