Kosovo is a partially recognized country and a disputed territory in Southeastern Europe. It declared sovereignty and independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia acknowledges the democratically elected government of Kosovo, but considers it to be an autonomous province, officially known as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. Kosovo covers an area of 4,212 square miles and is a landlocked state bordering Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. It is a vital link between Southeastern and Central Europe, the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Pristina is the largest and the capital city. One hundred and thirteen member states of the United Nations recognize Kosovo as a country, including the United States, Canada, as well as members of the European Union, except Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus, and Greece. Mexico, India, Brazil, China, and Russia are some of the other countries that do not recognize the independence of Kosovo. The country is yet to be admitted to the United Nations.
The History of Kosovo
Kosovo was an integral part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the early 20th century. After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Balkan War, Serbia and Montenegro acquired Kosovo. After the First World War, Serbia and Montenegro joined Yugoslavia and declared Kosovo an autonomous province. Throughout the 20th century, tension simmered between the Albanian and Serb communities, culminating in an armed conflict between 1988 and 1989. The Yugoslav army withdrew from the territory and the United Nations established an interim administration. In February 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia and sought recognition as a sovereign state. Although Serbia continues to contest the sovereignty of Kosovo, the Brussels Agreement of 2013 requires the country to recognize the legitimacy of institutions in Kosovo.
Kosovo is governed as a representative democracy. The government consists of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The country is governed by the constitution that was adopted on April 7, 2008. The president is elected by parliament and serves as the head of state, as well as representing the unity of the country. The prime minister is also elected by parliament and serves as the head of government. The population of Kosovo is about 1.9 million, while its GDP is $22.41 billion. The country's largest trading partners are Switzerland, Germany, China, Albania, and Turkey. The state has a free trade policy with the Republic of Macedonia, Albania, and Croatia.