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Kosovo independence to become reality in March – Belgian media

By RIA Novosti

Brussels : Serbia’s Albanian-dominated province of Kosovo will declare independence on February 17, but the decision will not come into force until March, Belgian media reported on Wednesday.

European Union officials also recently said they expect Kosovo’s independence to be declared on February 17.

Belgian newspapers said that sources in Brussels indicated that the Kosovan declaration of independence would enter into force in March alongside the adoption of a new Constitution.

The delay will also allow for the adoption of more than 30 laws by Kosovo’s parliament. These laws are based on a plan for the province’s supervised independence outlined a year ago by the UN’s former special envoy, Martti Ahtisaari.

Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu said last Friday that Kosovo was close to declaring independence from Serbia, and its government was closely cooperating with international organizations to alleviate any problems that may arise.

Serbia’s Koha Ditore daily said that after independence was proclaimed, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hasim Taci would give a speech to the media. A firework display will be reportedly organized in Pristina later on Sunday to mark the announcement of sovereignty.

Serbia asked the UN Security Council on Tuesday to hold an emergency session on Thursday on “the extremely grave situation” in its province of Kosovo.

Serbian officials have been meeting to discuss plans in the case of a unilateral declaration of independence by the province. Serbia has ruled out the use of force to retake Kosovo, however.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, sent a letter to the Council’s president supporting Serbia’s appeal.

Russia, which categorically opposes the unilateral independence for Kosovo, is insisting that negotiations continue between Pristina and Belgrade to work out a roadmap.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Albanian and Serb forces in 1999.