Kosovo adopts constitution; UN handover June 15

Kosovo adopted a state constitution on Wednesday, which will come into force in mid-June when the United Nations completes a handover of powers to the newly independent country and its EU overseers.

Kosovo adopts constitution; UN handover June 15
Parliament deputies endorsed the text without a vote, almost two months after the 90-percent Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia with Western backing.

The constitution declares Kosovo a secular republic, "an independent, sovereign, democratic, unique and indivisible state".

Kosovo expresses its determination "to build a future ... as a free, democratic and peace-loving country that will be a homeland to all of its citizens", the text reads.

The constitution will come into force on June 15, when the U.N. mission that has run the former Serbian province since 1999 is due to hand over its remaining powers to Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders and new EU-led police and supervisory missions.

But questions remain over how the transition will proceed, after Serb ally Russia last year blocked the adoption of a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the EU takeover and a U.N. plan for independence.

The U.N. mission says it is awaiting instructions from headquarters in New York, but is certain to remain in some form under current U.N. Security Council resolution 1244.

Kosovo already runs most of its own affairs, but the constitution also creates a Foreign Ministry, Defence Ministry, security force, constitutional court and intelligence agency.

The text includes extensive provisions for the protection of the Serb minority, under the U.N. plan for "supervised independence" that was rejected by Russia but backed by Kosovo Albanians and the major Western powers.

Kosovo has been recognised by more than 30 countries, including the United States and most of the 27 EU member states.
Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2008, 15:28
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