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The Republic of Kosovo, known usually as simply Kosovo, is a landlocked nation situated in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. It shares its borders with Serbia to the north and the east, the Republic of Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest, and Montenegro to the west. Its declaration of independence from Serbia was made on February 17, 2008, and it is a disputed territory and partially recognized state. The recognition of its independence has been mixed. Despite the fact that Serbia has begun to normalize relations with Kosovo per the Brussels Agreement, that country does not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign nation. Its capital is Pristine. Albanian and Serbian are the official languages of Kosovo.

From the middle of the 15th century until the early 20th century, Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire. At that time, it became first part of Serbia and eventually became part of the new Yugoslavia.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the constituent countries began to follow suit. During this time, and for quite a while afterwards, Serbia continued to call itself the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as Slobodan Milosevic ruled over Serbia and oversaw ethnic cleansing, causing hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians to flee the country. Milosevic also forcibly continued to control provinces which were nearby. Neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina became independent in March of 1992.

The Kosovo Liberation Army fought Milosevic's Serbian army, and a civil war, led by Albanian secessionists began in 1998. It ended with the bombing of Yugoslavia on June 10, 1999 when the UN Security Council passed a resolution ending the war. At that time, the United Nations established a NATO peacekeeping force which was deployed to Kosovo. The United States United Nations, and European Union began working with Kosovo to create a plan for independence.

In 2003, Yugoslavia renamed itself Serbia and Montenegro and in 2006, each of those entities became independent states. The United Nations sponsored negotiations failed after an acceptable consensus as to Kosovo's constitutional status could not be reached in 2008. Shortly thereafter, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. Within hours, the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Italy, along with nine other nations, recognized Kosovo as being an independent nation. Within months, 63 countries, including 22 out of 27 EU members, announced that they recognized that independence. Serbia, however, held its ground in its belief that Kosovo's independence was illegal, and Russia sided with Serbia on the matter, and Cyprus, Greece, and Slovakia were among those who would not recognize it as a state.

Upon the declaration of independence, Serbia called upon the International Court of Justice to render an advisory opinion, agreeing to abide by the ICJ's opinion on the matter. In July of 2010, the ICJ ruled in Kosovo's favor, saying that due to the fact that the authors of the declaration represented the people of Kosovo and therefore "did not violate any applicable rule of international law." recalling its ambassadors from all countries which chose to recognize Kosovo as an independent nation, claiming that it was still the southern province of Serbia. The Serbian government kicked out ambassadors who recognized Kosovo as an independent state and shortly afterwards, indicted Kosovo's leaders on high treason charges. Kosovo held the line, viewing Serbia as a neighboring nation.

The European Union became the mediator of the problems between Serbia and Kosovo in March of 2011. On July 25 of that year, what was later dubbed the "North Kosovo crisis" developed when the Kosovo Police entered Serbian controlled territories of North Kosovo while trying to control border crossings. They did not consult with either NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR) or Serbia before doing so. This resulted in heightened tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. The European Union blamed Kosovo for the provocation. In November of 2011, Minister of Internal Affairs Ivica Dačić, a former Milošević protege, announced that the Serbian government considered the incursion into Serbian territory as an attack on his country.

At the end of 2012, Kosovo and Dačić, who was by then Serbia's prime minister, agreed to normalize relations, in the hopes that both of them could join the European Union at some point. Part of that agreement was that Pristina would be the administrative authority of "the territory of Kosovo."

Dačić met with the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, in Brussels for a series of talks in February of 2013. In March of 2013, Dačić stated that Serbia would never recognize the independence of Kosovo. He went on to say that Serbia should look at define its "real borders."

Kosovo's independence is still contested.



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