Kosovo (Albanian: Kosova, Kosovë; Serbian: Косово or Косово и Метохија, Kosovo or Kosovo i Metohija) is a disputed territory in the Balkans. Its majority is governed by the partially-recognised Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës; Serbian: Република Косово, Republika Kosovo), a self-declared independent state which has de facto control over the territory; the exceptions are some Serb enclaves. Serbia does not recognise the secession of Kosovo and considers it a United Nations-governed entity within its sovereign territory, the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (Serbian: Аутономна Покрајина Косово и Метохија, Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo i Metohija), according to the Constitution of Serbia (2006).
Declaration of Independence
The Assembly of Kosovo approved a declaration of independence on 17 February 2008. Over the following days, a number of states (the United States, Turkey, Albania, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Australia and others) announced their recognition, despite protests by Russia and others in the UN. Currently, 62 UN states recognise the independence of Kosovo and it has become a member country of the IMF and World Bank as the Republic of Kosovo.  The UN Security Council remains divided on the question (as of 4 July 2008 (2008 -07-04)[update]). Of the five members with veto power, USA, UK, and France recognised the declaration of independence, and the People's Republic of China has expressed concern, while Russia considers it illegal. As of October 2008[update], no member-country of CIS, CSTO or SCO has recognised Kosovo as independent. Kosovo has not made a formal application for UN membership yet in view of a possible veto from Russia and China. The European Union has no official position towards Kosovo's status, but has decided to deploy the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo to ensure a continuation of international civil presence in Kosovo. As of April 2008[update], most of the member-countries of NATO, EU, WEU and OECD have recognised Kosovo as independent. As of 9 October 2008 (2008 -10-09)[update], all of Kosovo's immediate neighbour states except Serbia have recognised the declaration of independence. Montenegro and Macedonia announced their recognition of Kosovo on 9 October 2008. Albania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary have also recognised the independence of Kosovo. The Serb minority of Kosovo, which largely opposes the declaration of independence, has formed the Community Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija in response. The creation of the assembly was condemned by Kosovo's president Fatmir Sejdiu, while UNMIK has said the assembly is not a serious issue because it will not have an operative role. On 8 October 2008, the UN agreed to ask the International Court of Justice for a non-binding advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo's declaration of Independence from Serbia, by a vote of 77-6-74 (77 in favour, 6 opposed and 74 abstentions).
Still being established as Kosovo is a very new country.
The relations between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian and Serb populations have been hostile since the rise of nationalism in the Balkans during the 19th century, rivalry which became strong after Serbia gained Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire in 1913 and after Albania became independent in the same year. During the Ottoman period however, Serbs and Albanians within Kosovo enjoyed good-neighborly relations, working together to appose foreign meddling in the territory on many occasions During the Tito-era of communist rule in Yugoslavia, the ethnic Albanian and Serb populations of Kosovo were strongly irreconcilable with sociological studies during the Tito-era indicating that ethnic Albanian and Serb peoples in Kosovo rarely accepted each other as neighbours or friends and few held interethnic marriages. Ethnic prejudices, stereotypes and mutual distrust between ethnic Albanians and Serbs have remained common for decades. The level of intolerance and separation between the ethnic Albanian and Serb communities during the Tito-period was reported by sociologists to be worse than that of Croat and Serb communities in Yugoslavia which also had tensions but held some closer relations between each other.
Albanian, Serbian, Turkish, Gorani, Romani, Bosnian
The climate is continental, with warm summers and cold and snowy winters. Most of Kosovo's terrain in mountainous, the highest peak is Đeravica (2,656 m/8,714 ft). There are two main plain regions, the Metohija basin is located in the western part of the Kosovo, and the Plain of Kosovo occupies the eastern part. The main rivers of the region are the White Drin, running towards the Adriatic Sea, with the Erenik among its tributaries), the Sitnica, the South Morava in the Goljak area, and Ibar in the north. The biggest lakes are Gazivoda, Radonjić, Batlava and Badovac. 39.1% of Kosovo is forested, about 52% is classified as agricultural land, 31% of which is covered by pastures and 69% is arable. Phytogeographically, Kosovo belongs to the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency, the territory of Kosovo belongs to the ecoregion of Balkan mixed forests.Currently, the 39,000 ha Šar Mountains National Park, established in 1986 in the Šar Mountains along the border with the Republic of Macedonia, is the only national park in Kosovo, although the Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park in the Prokletije along the border with Montenegro has been proposed as another one.