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Serbian Parliament Approves Constitution Asserting Control Over Kosovo


The Serbian parliament has overwhelmingly approved a new constitution that declares Kosovo part of the country, despite ongoing United Nations-mediated talks on the status of the province.

The parliament also voted Saturday to put the draft constitution to a referendum on October 28 and 29.

Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said the draft affirms that "Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia."

Serbia's troubled Kosovo province has been under United Nations administration since 1999 when NATO bombing halted Belgrade's crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

The ethnic Albanians insist on independence, but the Serb minority and Belgrade both want Serbia to retain some control over the area.

The constitution replaces the one drafted by former leader Slobodan Milosevic in 1990. It treats Serbia as an independent state, following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.