MITROVICA — To booming loudspeakers blasting out Orthodox hymns, Serbian student leader Sergej Zaporozac told the cheering crowd that “we are here since ancient times, [and] Kosovo is holy land for Serbs,” in reference to Kosovo’ quasi-mythical status in Serb nationalist circles The newly-independent state is site of numerous Orthodox monasteries and, on the road linking Pristina and Mitrovica, the tomb of Prince Lazar, martyred in 1289. Demonstrators waved Spanish and Russian flags in acknowledgement of those countries’ opposition to the newly declared Republic of Kosovo, while speakers castigated Western powers for recognizing Pristina’s government, as Belgrade followed up the recall of its ambassador in Washington with the withdrawal of its representative in Canberra, to protest Australia’s backing of the Kosovo state.
PRISTINA – The United States yesterday coupled its formal recognition of newly independent Kosovo with an appeal for the European Union and the World Bank to help turn the impoverished territory into a prosperous Muslim-majority state. With unemployment at nearly 50 percent, an average monthly salary of about $220 and growing corruption, Europe’s youngest country has raised security concerns throughout the continent. Still, it was clear after an all-night party celebrating Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Sunday that most of the population — more than 90 percent Muslim — is looking west to America rather than east to Mecca. After a night of fireworks, heavy drinking and dancing in the streets to Tupac Shakur’s rap hit “California Love,” residents of the Kosovar capital, Pristina, resumed their celebration yesterday, waving U.S. and Kosovar flags at the news that their new nation had been formally recognized by the United States.
PRISTINA — The birth pangs from the emergence of the world’s newest nation reverberated yesterday from New York to Moscow as Serbia and its ally Russia rejected a unilateral declaration of independence by the self-proclaimed “Republic of Kosova.” But the Serb-Russian gambit did little to dampen the jubilation in the streets of Pristina, where red-and-black-clad celebrants waved U.S. and Kosovar flags, exploded firecrackers and ate from an enormous cake intended to feed 30,000 people. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci issued his proclamation at mid afternoon, using the Albanian-language spelling for the longtime Serbian province. The parliament followed quickly with a unanimous vote of approval as tens of thousands gathered outside. Serbia, however, rejected the loss of a province it considers its historic heartland, and its ally Russia asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.
PRISTINA — In the capital, cars and buildings were covered with U.S. flags alongside the new Kosovar ensign, a far cry from the “Death to America” chants heard in some other Muslim countries. “The U.S. — and the Western countries — were like an extra arm for us,” said Bardha Ajvazi, a student working part-time at the Hotel Pllaza. “Americans helped us get our freedom, and since then have helped the poor people here with financial assistance.”
PRISTINA — Dick Roche, Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, told The Sunday Business Post that ‘‘this would not be a precedent for other ethnic groups. There are specifics to each case’’. At a news conference last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin rubbished claims that Kosovo had special status, and EU member states such as Spain and Cyprus, with separatist movements of their own, have expressed their concerns about the Kosovo example. But the fact that Kosovo’s independence will be internationally-supervised, not to mention controversial, did little to curtail the jubilation around Pristina over the weekend. The new state will apparently be called Kosova, closer to the Albanian language version, and last minute efforts are being made to get the trappings of sovereignty ready, even if real sovereignty will be curtailed. ‘‘We want to get all the symbols and names correct, to show we are a separate country and heritage,” said Berat Jashari, a student at the University of Pristina.