Wed, February 18, 2009
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Kosovo anniversary celebration

2009-02-18 07:20:31 GMT2009-02-18 15:20:31 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

INTRO: Kosovo, the geographically smallest nation in the Balkans, celebrates the first anniversary of its secession from Serbia.

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Thousands of Kosovo Albanians marked the first anniversary of their declaration of independence with celebrations in the street. A year after it seceded from Serbia, Kosovo is still at odds with its northern Balkan neighbour.

STORY:

It's a year since Kosovo seceded from Serbia.

And for these Kosovo Albanians that meant party time.

Thousands took to the streets to mark the anniversary.

Traditional costumes and dancing were the order of the day as revellers paid tribute to their fledgling country.

MPs marked the occasion in rather more sober fashion in parliament.

Kosovo's President Fatmir Sejdiu warned the nation it still faces bitter opposition from Serbia.

SOUNDBITE (Albanian) KOSOVO PRESIDENT FATMIR SEJDIU, SAYING:

"Serbia is continuing its interference and has the tendency to destabilise us."

Kosovo has been recognised by the US and its key European allies.

But Serbia and its ally Russia remain opposed to its independence.

NATO peacekeepers are still a necessary presence a decade after the Bosnian war. That conflict involved several sides and led to the break up of the former Yugoslavia.

Kosovo was the last state to emerge from Yugoslavia's wreckage.

Jim Drury, Reuters

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