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Kosovo Parliament Declares Independence

Kosovo is declaring independence. During a special parliamentary session Sunday, Serbia's breakaway province proclaimed itself the world's newest state.

The declaration received a stern reaction from the Serbian president, who said his nation would never accept an independent Kosovo. President Bush said the U.S. would work to prevent violence after the declaration and the European Union also appealed for calm.

Deputies unanimously approved the declaration of independence in a solemn session of Parliament. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci . read the declaration, saying, "We the leaders of our people, democratically elected, through this declaration proclaim Kosovo an independent and sovereign state," adding, "This declaration reflects the will of the people."

Across the capital, Pristina, revelers danced in the streets, fired guns into the air and waved red and black Albanian flags in jubilation at the birth of the world's newest country.

Earlier, Thaci delivered a speech underscoring that the new state would ensure the rights of all minorities and will be democratic and multiethnic.

By sidestepping the U.N. and appealing directly to the U.S. and other nations for recognition, Kosovo set up a showdown with Serbia — outraged at the imminent loss of its territory — and Russia, which warned that it would set a dangerous precedent for separatist groups worldwide.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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