Kosovo (/ˈkɒsəvoʊ, ˈkoʊ-/; Albanian: Kosova; Serbian: Косово) is a disputed territory and partially
recognised state inSoutheastern Europe that declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo. While Serbia recognises the Republic's governance of the territory, it still continues to claim it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.
Kosovo is landlocked in the central Balkan Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pristina. It is bordered by the Republic of Macedonia and Albania to the south, Montenegro to the west, and the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east. In antiquity, the Dardanian Kingdom, and later the Roman province of Dardania was located in the region. It was part of Serbia in the Middle Ages, and many consider the Battle of Kosovo of 1389 to be one of the defining moments in Serbian medieval history. After being part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the early 20th century, in the late 19th century Kosovo became the centre of the Albanian independence movement with the League of Prizren. As a result of the defeat in the First Balkan War (1912–13), the Ottoman Empire ceded the Vilayet of Kosovo to the Balkan League; the Kingdom of Serbia took its larger part, while the Kingdom of Montenegro annexed the western part before both countries became a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after World War I. After a period of Yugoslav unitarianism in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the post-World War II Yugoslav constitution established theAutonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within the Yugoslav constituent republic of Serbia.
Long-term severe ethnic tensions between Kosovo's Albanian and Serb populations left Kosovo ethnically divided, resulting in inter-ethnic violence, including the Kosovo War of 1998–99. The war ended with a military intervention of NATO, which forced theFederal Republic of Yugoslavia to withdraw its troops from Kosovo, which became a UN protectorate under UNSCR 1244. On 17 February 2008 Kosovo's Parliament declared independence. It has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by108 UN member states. Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo as a state, although with the Brussels Agreement of 2013 it has accepted the legitimacy of Kosovo institutions and its special status within Serbia. The agreement solidified that public institutions in Kosovo are exclusively operated by Kosovo's elected government, and not Serbia's.
Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations due to its lack of diplomatic recognition from 85 UN member countries. It is, however, a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, International Road and Transport Union (IRU), Regional Cooperation Council, Council of Europe Development Bank, Venice Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Kosovo has gained full membership in many major sports federations, including the International Olympic Committee. Within the European Union, it is recognised by 23 of the 28 members. Kosovo is a potential candidate for future enlargement of the European Union.
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