HT Image
HT Image

Albanian triumph, Serb anger as Kosovo secedes

Kosovo Albanians will proclaim independence from Serbia, ending a long chapter in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia but cementing a bitter ethnic frontline in the Balkans.
By Douglas Hamilton | Reuters, Pristina
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2008 03:59 PM IST

Kosovo Albanians will proclaim independence from Serbia on Sunday, ending a long chapter in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia but cementing a bitter ethnic frontline in the Balkans.

Kosovo will be the 6th state carved from the Serb-dominated federation since 1991, after Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro, and the last to escape Serbia's embrace.

The Serbs vow never to give up the land where their history goes back 1,000 years.

They will reject independence in defiance of the Albanians and their Western backers and will keep their grip on strongholds in northern Kosovo, making the ethnic partition of the new state a reality from the start.

President George W Bush said the United States, which has 1,700 troops in Kosovo's NATO-led peacekeeping force of 16,000, would work with its allies to make sure there was no violence.

"The United States will continue to work with our allies to do the very best we can to make sure there's no violence," he said during a visit to Tanzania. Bush added that he was heartened by the Kosovo government's proclaimed willingness to support Serbian rights.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said on Saturday: "The success of Kosovo's independence as a new beginning will be clearly measured by respect for the rights of minorities, especially Serbs."

Snow blanketed the capital on Sunday morning after triumphant celebrations the night before, thousands of Albanians pouring into the streets, flags in every hand and car horns blaring. Banners proclaimed "Happy Independence".

"Today, a new life begins. The past should not be forgotten, but it belongs to the past, and should be forgiven," the Kosovo daily Koha Ditore wrote.

Ten years ago this week, Serb forces fought an Albanian guerrilla uprising, killing civilians who got in the way. Major Western powers were calling for talks. Russia backed Serbia in its battle with "terrorists".

Determined to end a decade of humiliation from Belgrade under the late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic, the Albanians fought on until the West, unable to sit powerless after other Balkan bloodbaths, bombed Serbia into submission in 1999.

Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since Serb forces withdrew in June that year. Promised swift recognition by the United States and major European Union powers, Kosovo's 90 percent Albanian majority can now ignore Serb warnings.

Razor-wire

"This is the happiest day," said Tahir Bajrami, an elderly Kosovo Albanian who flew from New York to join the celebrations. "We were prisoners, but this marks a new beginning," he said.

The European Union will deploy a rule-of-law mission of some 2,000 starting next month to take over from the United Nations. A NATO-led peace force of 16,000 troops will stay on.

Establishing their writ in Serb-dominated land north of the Ibar River will be their toughest challenge. Backed by Russia, Serbia says the mission is illegitimate without a UN mandate.

Serbia promised reprisals but kept them secret. Analysts believe any trade, diplomatic or bureaucratic blockade will be relatively short-lived. But they say impoverished Kosovo, whose population of 2 million is Europe's youngest, will need a lot of development aid and on-the-spot guidance for years to come.

Western powers are also nervously watching for any Kosovo fallout in ethnically divided Bosnia, where some Serbs threaten to secede, breaking up their uneasy partnership with Muslims and Croats in what would be yet another Balkan fragmentation.

And in neighboring Macedonia, where NATO and the EU stepped in to cut short an ethnic guerrilla war, the Macedonian-Albanian coalition had its fingers crossed for a soft landing in Kosovo.

NATO peacekeepers were not relying on optimism. French troops prepared concrete and razor-wire barriers to separate Serbs from Albanians in the flashpoint city of Mitrovica.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
People participate in a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 15, 2021. (Reuters File Photo )
People participate in a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 15, 2021. (Reuters File Photo )

Myanmar protests: Truck drivers join movement against military coup

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:30 PM IST
As a result, delivery of imports has slowed, with cargo containers trapped at ports and at least one international shipping line has been forced to halt new orders.
Close
FILE - IN this Feb. 15, 2021, file photo, Rohingya refugees headed to the Bhasan Char island prepare to board navy vessels from the south eastern port city of Chattogram, Bangladesh. The United Nations said Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, that a group of Rohingya refugees is adrift in a boat in the Andaman Sea without food or water, and that their families are worried that many may have already died. (AP Photo, File)(AP)
FILE - IN this Feb. 15, 2021, file photo, Rohingya refugees headed to the Bhasan Char island prepare to board navy vessels from the south eastern port city of Chattogram, Bangladesh. The United Nations said Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, that a group of Rohingya refugees is adrift in a boat in the Andaman Sea without food or water, and that their families are worried that many may have already died. (AP Photo, File)(AP)

UNHCR praises Indian coast guard for helping Rohingya adrift in Andaman sea

AP, Dhaka
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:27 PM IST
UNHCR said the Indian coast guard responded to its request and deployed a search and rescue team.
Close
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year's address in Beijing.(AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year's address in Beijing.(AP)

Xi Jinping trumpets 'victory' in 1.6 trillion yuan campaign to end rural poverty

Posted by Ayshee Bhaduri | Reuters, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:25 PM IST
  • China defines extreme rural poverty as annual per capita income of less than 4,000 yuan ($620), or about $1.69 a day at current exchange rates.
Close
The executive order, Biden told reporters on Wednesday is about making sure that the country can meet every challenge it faces in this new era - pandemics, but also in defence, cybersecurity, climate change, and so much more.(AP)
The executive order, Biden told reporters on Wednesday is about making sure that the country can meet every challenge it faces in this new era - pandemics, but also in defence, cybersecurity, climate change, and so much more.(AP)

Biden signs executive orders to address vulnerabilities in supply chains

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:21 AM IST
The order will help address the vulnerabilities in “our supply chains across additional critical sectors of our economy so that the American people are prepared to withstand any crisis and rely on ourselves.”
Close
Willian Burns, a former diplomat who served in Russia and the Middle East, shared the assessment with members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday for the post of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director.(Bloomberg)
Willian Burns, a former diplomat who served in Russia and the Middle East, shared the assessment with members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday for the post of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director.(Bloomberg)

Out competing China will be key to national security: Biden's CIA nominee

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:03 AM IST
The two countries are currently engaged in a bitter confrontation over various issues, including trade, the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the communist giant’s aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea and human rights.
Close
The People’s Daily, the party’s official mouthpiece, ran a three-page, 22,000-character article Wednesday summarizing the poverty-alleviation orders Xi has issued since taking power.(REUTERS)
The People’s Daily, the party’s official mouthpiece, ran a three-page, 22,000-character article Wednesday summarizing the poverty-alleviation orders Xi has issued since taking power.(REUTERS)

Xi Jinping puts personal stamp on China’s fight against poverty

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 10:51 AM IST
Xi handed out awards to individuals involved in the campaign Thursday and was expected to give a speech touting China’s progress in its fight to end poverty.
Close
The bans are also being applied on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.(Reuters File Photo )
The bans are also being applied on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.(Reuters File Photo )

Facebook bans all Myanmar military-linked accounts and ads

AP, Yangon
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 10:49 AM IST
Facebook already has banned several military-linked accounts since the coup, including army-controlled Myawaddy TV.
Close
Huawei has struggled in recent years in the face of US sanctions, as Washington claims Huawei has close ties to China's military and that Beijing could use its equipment for espionage - accusations the company denies.(AFP)
Huawei has struggled in recent years in the face of US sanctions, as Washington claims Huawei has close ties to China's military and that Beijing could use its equipment for espionage - accusations the company denies.(AFP)

Huawei, controversial in the West, is going strong in the Gulf

AFP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 10:06 AM IST
Arab Gulf countries strategic partners of Washington that are seeking to diversify their economies are investing heavily in the sector as their appetite for technology grows.
Close
The results of the study for the Clalit Research Institute were close to those in clinical trials last year which found two doses were found to be 95% effective.(REUTERS)
The results of the study for the Clalit Research Institute were close to those in clinical trials last year which found two doses were found to be 95% effective.(REUTERS)

In boost for Covid-19 battle, Pfizer vaccine found 94% effective in real world

Reuters, Jerusalem
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 09:46 AM IST
The study of about 1.2 million people also showed a single shot was 57% effective in protecting against symptomatic infections after two weeks.
Close
Watching the line of cars file slowly through the parking area on campus as people in their cars got shots, Austin spoke with troops who have been giving out vaccines. One soldier from the area told Austin how thrilled he was to be able to give his own mother a shot.(AP)
Watching the line of cars file slowly through the parking area on campus as people in their cars got shots, Austin spoke with troops who have been giving out vaccines. One soldier from the area told Austin how thrilled he was to be able to give his own mother a shot.(AP)

Military begins delivering vaccines in Texas, New York

AP, Los Angeles
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 09:36 AM IST
The Biden administration has said that delivering the vaccine to Americans is a top priority. The Pentagon is ramping up the deployment of what federal authorities say could be up to 100 vaccination teams around the country.
Close
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook said on Tuesday that the changes allow it to choose publishers it will support and indicated that it will now start striking such deals in Australia.(Stock image: Getty)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook said on Tuesday that the changes allow it to choose publishers it will support and indicated that it will now start striking such deals in Australia.(Stock image: Getty)

Australia-Facebook tussle: Tech giant to pay $1bn over 3 yrs to news companies

PTI, Menlo Park, San Francisco
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 09:18 AM IST
The social giant, which has been tussling with Australia over a law that would make social platforms pay news organisations, said it has invested $600 million since 2018 in news.
Close
Tanden, 50, head of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, has ties to Hillary Clinton and would be the first South Asian woman to lead the Office of Management and Budget.(REUTERS)
Tanden, 50, head of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, has ties to Hillary Clinton and would be the first South Asian woman to lead the Office of Management and Budget.(REUTERS)

Biden to put Tanden in another post should her nomination fail

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:43 AM IST
Klain said the White House is “fighting our guts out to get her confirmed” and hoping one Republican would offer support after West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin said he would vote against her.
Close
The Pakistani government has recently re-approached Chinese officials on the issue but no information has leaked out in the public domain on their exchanges. (Reuters/HT Archive)
The Pakistani government has recently re-approached Chinese officials on the issue but no information has leaked out in the public domain on their exchanges. (Reuters/HT Archive)

Pak caught in China's debt-trap diplomacy, seeks relief from 'iron ally': Report

ANI, Islamabad
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:41 AM IST
Pakistani officials are also reportedly asking their Chinese counterparts to decelerate agreed plans to build even more power plants that would add to the overcapacity problem.
Close
U.S. President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Biden revoked a proclamation from his predecessor that blocked many green card applicants from entering US.(Bloomberg)
U.S. President Joe Biden in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Biden revoked a proclamation from his predecessor that blocked many green card applicants from entering US.(Bloomberg)

Biden rescinds Trump visa ban, bringing relief to many green card applicants

Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:32 AM IST
Former President Donald Trump issued the ban last year, saying it was needed to protect US workers amid high unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Close
Indonesia's interventions have raised suspicion among Myanmar democracy activists who fear dealing with the junta would confer legitimacy on it and its bid to scrap the November election.(REUTERS)
Indonesia's interventions have raised suspicion among Myanmar democracy activists who fear dealing with the junta would confer legitimacy on it and its bid to scrap the November election.(REUTERS)

Myanmar students, doctors plan more protests against military rule

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 07:46 AM IST
Malaysia is home to more than 154,000 asylum-seekers from Myanmar and several Malaysian lawmakers and rights groups on Wednesday called on the government to explain its deportation.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP