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  Introduction Back To Top

Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century but did not fully incorporate them into the Serbian realm until the early 13th century. The Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War of 1912. Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia with status almost equal to that of a republic under the 1974 Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Despite legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s, which led to riots and calls for Kosovo's independence. At the same time, Serb nationalist leaders, such as Slobodan MILOSEVIC, exploited Kosovo Serb claims of maltreatment to secure votes from supporters, many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland. Under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia instituted a new constitution in 1989 that drastically curtailed Kosovo's autonomy. Kosovo Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum that declared Kosovo independent. Under MILOSEVIC, Serbia carried out repressive measures against the Albanians in the early 1990s as the unofficial Kosovo government, led by Ibrahim RUGOVA, used passive resistance in an attempt to try to gain international assistance and recognition of an independent Kosovo. Albanians dissatisfied with RUGOVA's passive strategy in 1995 created the Kosovo Liberation Army and launched an insurgency. Starting in 1998, Serbian military, police, and paramilitary forces conducted a counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians. International attempts to mediate the conflict failed, and MILOSEVIC's rejection of a proposed settlement led to a three-month NATO bombing campaign against Serbia beginning in March 1999 that forced Serbia to agree to withdraw its military and police forces from Kosovo. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosovo's future status. A UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo's final status. The negotiations ran in stages between 2006 and 2007, but ended in a stalemate because Serbia was only willing to grant Kosovo a high degree of autonomy and Kosovo's Albanians refused to accept anything but full independence. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo independent. Since then, over fifty countries have recognized Kosovo. Serbia continues to reject Kosovo's independence and subsequently has sought a ruling from the International Court of Justice on the legality under international law of Kosovo's independence declaration.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
total: 702 km
border countries: Albania 112 km, Macedonia 159 km, Montenegro 79 km, Serbia 352 km

influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns; Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation; maximum rainfall between October and December

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
42 35 N, 21 00 E

Natural resources:
nickel, lead, zinc, magnesium, lignite, kaolin, chrome, bauxite

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Drini i Bardhe/Beli Drim 297 m (located on the border with Albania)
highest point: Gjeravica/Deravica 2,565 m

flat fluvial basin with an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m

total: 10,887 sq km
land: 10,887 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia

0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Delaware

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

  People Back To Top

Ethnic groups:
Albanians 88%, Serbs 7%, other 5% (Bosniak, Gorani, Roma, Turk, Ashkali, Egyptian)

2,126,708 (2007 est.)

Albanian (official), Serbian (official), Bosnian, Turkish, Roma

Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholic

noun: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovac (Serbian)
adjective: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovski (Serbian)
note: Kosovan, a neutral term, is sometimes also used as a noun or adjective

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tina KAIDANOW
embassy: Arberia/Dragodan, Nazim Hikmet 30, Pristina, Kosovo
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: 381 38 59 59 3000
FAX: 381 38 549 890

National holiday:
Independence Day, 17 February (2008)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedom (human rights); Humanitarian Law Centre (human rights); Movement for Self-Determination; Serb National Council (SNV)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Avni SPAHIU
chancery: 900 19th Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 2006
telephone: 202-265-8000

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
unicameral national Assembly (120 seats; 100 seats directly elected, 10 seats guaranteed for ethnic Serbs, 10 seats guaranteed for other ethnic minorities; to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 November 2007 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - PDK 34.3%, LDK 22.6%, AKR 12.3%, LDD 10.0%, AAK 9.6%, other 11.2%; seats by party - PDK 37, LDK 25, AKR 13, LDD 11, AAK 10, other 4

Legal system:
evolving legal system based on terms of UN Special Envoy Martti AHTISAARI's Plan for Kosovo's supervised independence

Flag description:
centered on a dark blue field is the geographical shape of Kosovo in a gold color surmounted by six white, five-pointed stars - each representing one of the major ethnic groups of Kosovo - arrayed in a slight arc

17 February 2008 (from Serbia)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo
conventional short form: Kosovo
local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosova)
local short form: Kosova (Kosovo)

Political parties and leaders:
Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo or PShDK [Tome MARKU]; Alliance for the Future of Kosovo or AAK [Ramush HARADINAJ]; Alliance for a New Kosovo or AKR [Behgjet PACOLLI]; Alliance of Independent Social Democrats of Kosovo and Metohija or SDSKIM [Slavisa PETKOVIC]; Autonomous Liberal Party of SLS [Slobodan PETROVIC]; Bosniak Vakat Coalition [Dzezair MURATI]; Citizens' Initiative of Gora or GIG [Murselj HALJILJI]; Council of Independent Social Democrats of Kosovo or SNSDKIM [Ljubisa ZIVIC]; Democratic Action Party or SDA [Numan BALIC]; Democratic Ashkali Party of Kosovo or PDAK; Democratic League of Dardania or LDD [Nexhat DACI]; Democratic League of Kosovo or LDK [Fatmir SEJDIU]; Democratic Party of Ashkali of Kosovo or PDAK [Sabit RAHMANI]; Democratic Party of Kosovo or PDK [Hashim THACI]; Democratic Party Vatan [Sadik IDRIZI]; Democratic Union of Ashkalis or BDA [Sabit RRAHMANI]; Justice Party or PD [Sylejman QERKEZI]; Kosovo Democratic Turkish Party of KDTP [Mahir YAGCILAR]; Liberal Party of Kosovo or PLK [Gjergi DEDAJ]; New Democratic Initiative of Kosovo or IRDK [Xhevdet NEZIRAJ]; New Democratic Party or ND [Branislav GRBIC]; New Kosovo Alliance or AKR [Behxhet PACOLLI]; Popular Movement of Kosovo or LPK [Emrush XHEMAJLI]; Reform Party Ora [Teuta SAHATCIA]; Serb National Party or SNS [Mihailo SCEPANOVIC]; Serbian Kosovo and Metohija Party or SKMS [Dragisa MIRIC]; Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija [Oliver IVANOVIC]; Social Democratic Party of Kosovo or PSDK [Agim CEKU]; United Roma Party of Kosovo or PREBK [Haxhi Zylfi MERXHA]

name: Pristina (Prishtine, Prishtina)
geographic coordinates: 42 40 N, 21 10 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

adopted by the Kosovo Assembly on 9 April 2008; effective 15 June 2008

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Fatmir SEJDIU (since 10 February 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Hashim THACI (since 9 January 2008)
cabinet: ministers; elected by the Kosovo Assembly
elections: the president is elected for a five-year term by the Kosovo Assembly; election last held 9 January 2008 (next to be held by in 2013); the prime minister is elected by the Kosovo Assembly
election results: Fatmir SEJDIU reelected president after three rounds; first round: Fatmir SEDIU 62, Naim MALOKU 37; second round: Fatmir SEDIU 61, Naim MALOKU 37; third round: Fatmir SEDIU 68; and Hashim THACI elected to be prime minister by the Assembly

Administrative divisions:
33 municipalities (komunat, singular - komuna in Albanian; opstine, singular - opstina in Serbian); Decan (Decani), Dragash (Dragas), Ferizaj (Urosevac), Fushe Kosove (Kosovo Polje), Gjakove (Dakovica), Gllogovc/Drenas (Glogovac), Gjilan (Gnjilane), Han i Elezit (Deneral Jankovic), Istog (Istok), Junik, Kacanik, Kamenice/Dardana (Kamenica), Kline (Klina), Leposaviq (Leposavic), Lipjan (Lipljan), Malisheve (Malisevo), Mamushe (Mamusa), Mitrovice (Mitrovica), Novoberde (Novo Brdo), Obiliq (Obilic), Peje (Pec), Podujeve (Podujevo), Prishtine (Pristina), Prizren, Rahovec (Orahovac), Shterpce (Strpce), Shtime (Stimlje), Skenderaj (Srbica), Suhareke (Suva Reka), Viti (Vitina), Vushtrri (Vucitrn), Zubin Potok, Zvecan

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; district courts; municipal courts
note: the Kosovo Constitution dictates that the Supreme Court of Kosovo is the highest judicial authority, and provides for a Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) that proposes to the president candidates for appointment or reappointment as judges and prosecutors; the KJC is also responsible for decisions on the promotion and transfer of judges and disciplinary proceedings against judges; at least 15% of Supreme Court and district court judges shall be from nonmajority communities

  Economy Back To Top

Electricity - consumption:
4.281 billion kWh (2006)

Current account balance:
-$58.3 million (2007)

Debt - external:
according to the national bank of Serbia, Kosovo's external debt was around $1.2 billion; Kosovo was willing to accept around $900 million (2007)

Unemployment rate:
43% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,800 (2007 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
29% of GDP (2006 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$4 billion (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.237 billion (2007 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
30 (FY05/06)

Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.6% (2007 est.)

Labor force:
832,000 (June 2007 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 20%
industry: 20%
services: 60% (2007 est.)

$148.4 million (2007)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007)

Currency (code):
euro (EUR); Serbian Dinar (RSD) is also in circulation

Economy - overview:
Over the past few years Kosovo's economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system and maintaining macroeconomic stability, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany and Switzerland - are estimated to account for about 15% of GDP, and donor-financed activities and aid for another 15%. Kosovo's citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $1,800. Unemployment - at more than 40% of the population - is a severe problem that encourages outward migration and black market activity. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize 50% of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by number, and over 90% of SOEs by value. Minerals and metals - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once formed the backbone of industry, but output has declined because of ageing equipment and insufficient investment. A limited and unreliable electricity supply due to technical and financial problems in the power sector is the main impediment to industrial development. The US has worked with the World Bank to prepare a commercial tender for the development of new power generating and mining capacity. The official currency of Kosovo is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used in the Serb enclaves. Kosovo's tie to the euro has helped keep core inflation low. Kosovo has one of the most open economies in the region, and continues to work with the international community on measures to improve the business environment and attract foreign investment.

Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, wood, petroleum, chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment

mineral mining, construction materials, base metals, leather, machinery, appliances

Population below poverty line:
37% (2007 est.)

Electricity - production:
3.996 billion kWh (2006)

$234 million (2007)

Oil - proved reserves:
NA bbl

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 16.5%
industry: NA
services: NA (2007)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
NA cu m

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

Oil - consumption:
NA bbl

Public debt:

Exports - commodities:
mining and processed metal products, scrap metals, leather products, machinery, appliances

Economic aid - recipient:
$324 million (2007)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007)

revenues: $1.364 billion
expenditures: $1.008 billion (2007 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007)

  Communications Back To Top

Telephones - main lines in use:
106,300 (2006)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
562,000 (2006)

  Transportation Back To Top

total: 430 km (2005)

2 (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2008)

total: 1,924 km
paved: 1,666 km
unpaved: 258 km (2006)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
under 914 m: 4 (2008)

10 (2008)

  Military Back To Top

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaring itself as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers under UNMIK authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Kosovo and Macedonia completed demarcation of their boundary in September 2008

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDP's: 21,000 (2007)

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