Kosovo. At the beginning of the year, Kosovo was formally a
Serbian province, placed under UN administration. During the
year, the Albanian majority declared an independent state.
By the end of the year, Kosovo was a divided country with some
unclear status; only 52 of the world's nations had
recognized the new state. Of the five permanent members of
the UN Security Council, the United States, France and the
United Kingdom had recognized Kosovo, while Russia and China had
In early January, a coalition government was formed
between the two parties that became the largest in the
November elections, the Kosovo Democratic Party (PDK) and
the Kosovo Democratic Alliance (LDK). PDK leader Hashim
Thaši, a former guerrilla commander, was appointed prime
minister and Parliament re-elected LDK leader Fatmir Sejdiu
On February 17, Prime Minister Thaši proclaimed the
independent state of Kosovo. The protests became violent in
Serbia and among Serbs in Kosovo. Russia demanded a crisis
meeting in the UN Security Council and demanded that the
independence be annulled. But the United States and most EU
countries, including Sweden, soon recognized the new state.
Countryaah reports, unrest mainly occurred in northern Kosovo, where many
residents belong to the Serbian minority. In the shared city
of Mitrovica, Serbs entered a court building used by the UN
administration UNMIK and clashes with UN police occurred.
One Ukrainian police officer was killed and many injured.
The Serbs refused to approve the new state and the
Serb-dominated areas continued to be ruled from Belgrade.
In November, the UN adopted a plan to allow the newly
established 2,000-strong EULEX operation to take over the
police and customs services from UNMIK before the end of the
year, except in Serbian-dominated areas where the UN
continued to have control. The UN's continued presence was a
condition of the Serbs. The government of Priština opposed
it, out of concern for a division of its young republic.
However, both Serbia and K. promised to accept the UN plan.
In April, the United Nations War Criminal Tribunal in The
Hague released former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj from
charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the
separatist uprising in Kosovo in the late 1990s. Former
guerrilla leader Haradinaj, who self-surrendered to the
court three years earlier, was received as a hero on his
return. A co-accused, Idriz Balaj, was also released while
Lahi Brahimaj was sentenced to six years in prison for
torture during his time in the then Kosovo Albanian