News / Europe

Kosovo Marks 5 Years Since Secession, Vows to Join EU, NATO

Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.
x
Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.
Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.
Kosovo has marked the fifth anniversary of its secession from Serbia with a festive military parade in the capital and a pledge to seek full membership in Western institutions.
 
Sunday's parade saw members of the Kosovo Security Force march through Pristina as big crowds lined the streets, which were decorated with the national flag and that of the United States, a key ally.
 
Addressing the event, Kosovo's ceremonial President Atifete Jahjage said her nation is committed to an "everlasting friendship" with Washington and meeting the conditions for membership of the European Union and NATO alliance. She said also Pristina respects the sovereignty of other countries and expects them to do the same with Kosovo.
 
Western powers are among 98 countries that have recognized Kosovo as a state since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Those powers led a NATO air offensive that ousted Serbian forces from Kosovo in 1999, putting its ethnic Albanian majority on a path toward statehood. An International Steering Group of Kosovo's allies ended their "supervision" of its independence last September.
 
Serbia rejects Kosovo's secession, but recently agreed to a high-level dialogue aimed at improving relations between the two sides. The Serbian and Kosovar presidents held their first talks earlier this month, meeting in Brussels under E.U. mediation. More talks between their prime ministers are due to be held in Brussels on Tuesday.
 
The E.U. has pressured Serbia to cooperate with Kosovo as part of Belgrade's bid to become a member of the 27-nation bloc.
 
Despite Sunday's festivities, Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci acknowledged "much more" must be done to confront major challenges facing the young state of 1.8 million people, who are among the poorest in Europe.
 
Minority Serbs in northern Kosovo have refused to recognize Pristina's authority or institutions. Another serious problem is unemployment, which stands at around 40 percent. Kosovo's government also has struggled to deal with corruption and organized crime.
 
Among its notable achievements in recent years, Kosovo has become a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs