Introduction ::Kosovo
Ethnic Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century but did not fully incorporate them into the Serbian realm until the early 13th century. During the medieval period, Kosovo became the center of a Serbian Empire and saw the construction of many important Serb religious sites, including many architecturally significant Serbian Orthodox monasteries. The defeat of Serbian forces at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War of 1912. Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia with status almost equivalent to that of a republic under the 1974 Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Despite legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s, which led to riots and calls for Kosovo's independence. At the same time, Serb nationalist leaders, such as Slobodan MILOSEVIC, exploited Kosovo Serb claims of maltreatment to secure votes from supporters, many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland. Under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia instituted a new constitution in 1989 that revoked Kosovo's status as an autonomous province of Serbia. Kosovo Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum that declared Kosovo independent. Under MILOSEVIC, Serbia carried out repressive measures against the Albanians in the early 1990s as the unofficial Kosovo government, led by Ibrahim RUGOVA, used passive resistance in an attempt to try to gain international assistance and recognition of an independent Kosovo. Albanians dissatisfied with RUGOVA's passive strategy in the 1990s created the Kosovo Liberation Army and launched an insurgency. Starting in 1998, Serbian military, police, and paramilitary forces conducted a counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians. Approximately 800,000 Albanians were forced from their homes in Kosovo during this time. International attempts to mediate the conflict failed, and MILOSEVIC's rejection of a proposed settlement led to a three-month NATO military campaign against Serbia beginning in March 1999 that forced Serbia to agree to withdraw its military and police forces from Kosovo. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosovo's future status. A UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo's final status. The negotiations ran in stages between 2006 and 2007, but ended without agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo independent. Since then, over sixty countries have recognized Kosovo, and it has joined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Serbia continues to reject Kosovo's independence and it subsequently sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality under international law of Kosovo's independence declaration. In July 2010 the ICJ ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate international law.
Geography ::Kosovo
Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia
42 35 N, 21 00 E
total: 10,887 sq km
country comparison to the world: 168
land: 10,887 sq km
water: 0 sq km
slightly larger than Delaware
total: 702 km
border countries: Albania 112 km, Macedonia 159 km, Montenegro 79 km, Serbia 352 km
0 km (landlocked)
none (landlocked)
Current Weather
influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns; Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation; maximum rainfall between October and December
flat fluvial basin with an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m
lowest point: Drini i Bardhe/Beli Drim 297 m (located on the border with Albania)
highest point: Gjeravica/Deravica 2,656 m
nickel, lead, zinc, magnesium, lignite, kaolin, chrome, bauxite
People ::Kosovo
1,804,838 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
0-14 years: 27.7% (male 260,678/female 239,779)
15-64 years: 65.7% (male 617,890/female 567,939)
65 years and over: 6.6% (male 50,463/female 68,089) (2010 est.)
total: 26.3 years
male: 25.8 years
female: 26.8 years (2010 est.)
at birth: 1.087 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
noun: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovac (Serbian)
adjective: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovski (Serbian)
note: Kosovan, a neutral term, is sometimes also used as a noun or adjective
Albanians 92%, other 8% (2008)
Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholic
Albanian (official), Serbian (official), Bosnian, Turkish, Roma
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 96.6%
female: 87.5% (2007 Census)
Government ::Kosovo
conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo
conventional short form: Kosovo
local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosovo)
local short form: Kosova (Kosovo)
name: Pristina (Prishtine, Prishtina)
geographic coordinates: 42 40 N, 21 10 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
30 municipalities (komunat, singular - komuna in Albanian; opstine, singular - opstina in Serbian); Decan (Decani), Dragash (Dragas), Ferizaj (Urosevac), Fushe Kosove (Kosovo Polje), Gjakove (Dakovica), Gjilan (Gnjilane), Gllogovc/Drenas (Glogovac), Istog (Istok), Kacanik, Kamenice/Dardana (Kamenica), Kline (Klina), Leposaviq (Leposavic), Lipjan (Lipljan), Malisheve (Malisevo), Mitrovice (Mitrovica), Novoberde (Novo Brdo), Obiliq (Obilic), Peje (Pec), Podujeve (Podujevo), Prishtine (Pristina), Prizren, Rahovec (Orahovac), Shterpce (Strpce), Shtime (Stimlje), Skenderaj (Srbica), Suhareke (Suva Reka), Viti (Vitina), Vushtrri (Vucitrn), Zubin Potok, Zvecan
note - the Government of Kosovo has announced the establishment of eight additional municipalities in accordance with UN Special Envoy AHTISAARI's mandated decentralization process; the boundaries of several municipalities are pending final approval; the municipalities are: Gracanice (Gracanica), Hani i Elezit (Dzeneral Jankovic), Junik, Kllokot-Verboc (Klokot-Vrbovac), Mamushe (Mamusa), Partes, and Ranillug (Ranilug); in addition, the current Mitrovice (Mitrovica) municipality is to be split into Mitrovice (Mitrovica) North and Mitrovice (Mitrovica) South
17 February 2008 (from Serbia)
Independence Day, 17 February (2008)
adopted by the Kosovo Assembly on 9 April 2008; effective 15 June 2008
evolving legal system based on terms of former UN Special Envoy Martti AHTISAARI's Plan for Kosovo's supervised independence; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Fatmir SEJDIU (since 10 February 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Hashim THACI (since 9 January 2008)
cabinet: ministers; elected by the Kosovo Assembly
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elections: the president elected for a five-year term by the Kosovo Assembly; election last held on 9 January 2008 (next to be held by in 2013); the prime minister elected by the Kosovo Assembly
election results: Fatmir SEJDIU reelected president after three rounds; Hashim THACI elected prime minister by the Assembly
unicameral national Assembly (120 seats; 100 seats directly elected, 10 seats guaranteed for ethnic Serbs, 10 seats guaranteed for other ethnic minorities; members to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 17 November 2007 (next expected to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - PDK 34.3%, LDK 22.6%, AKR 12.3%, LDD 10.0%, AAK 9.6%, other 11.2%; seats by party - PDK 37, LDK 25, AKR 13, LDD 11, AAK 10, other 4
Supreme Court; district courts; municipal courts
note: the Kosovo Constitution dictates that the Supreme Court of Kosovo is the highest judicial authority, and provides for a Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) that proposes to the president candidates for appointment or reappointment as judges and prosecutors; the KJC is also responsible for decisions on the promotion and transfer of judges and disciplinary proceedings against judges; at least 15 percent of Supreme Court and district court judges shall be from non-majority communities
Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo or PShDK [Ton MARKU]; Alliance for a New Kosovo or AKR [Behgjet PACOLLI]; Alliance for the Future of Kosovo or AAK [Ramush HARADINAJ]; Alliance of Independent Social Democrats of Kosovo and Metohija or SDSKIM [Ljubisa ZIVIC]; Bosniak Vakat Coalition or DSV [Sadik IDRIZI]; Citizens' Initiative of Gora or GIG [Murselj HALJILJI]; Democratic Action Party or SDA [Numan BALIC]; Democratic League of Dardania or LDD [Nexhat DACI]; Democratic League of Kosovo or LDK [Fatmir SEJDIU]; Democratic Party of Ashkali of Kosovo or PDAK [Berat QERIMI]; Democratic Party of Bosniaks [Dzezair MURATI]; Democratic Party of Kosovo or PDK [Hashim THACI]; Independent Liberal Party or SLS [Slobadan PETROVIC]; Kosovo Democratic Turkish Party of KDTP [Mahir YAGCILAR]; New Democratic Initiative of Kosovo or IRDK [Xhevdet NEZIRAJ]; New Democratic Party or ND [Predrag JOVIC]; New Kosovo Alliance or AKR [Behxhet PACOLLI]; Reform Party Ora [Teuta SAHATCIA]; Serb National Party or SNS [Mihailo SCEPANOVIC]; Serbian Democratic Party of Kosovo and Metohija or SDS KiM [Slavisa PETKOVIC]; Serbian Kosovo and Metohija Party or SKMS [Dragisa MIRIC]; Serbian National Council of Northern Kosovo and Metohija or SNV [Milan IVANOVIC]; Social Democratic Party of Kosovo or PSDK [Agim CEKU]; Socialist Party of Kosovo or PSK [Emrush XHEMAJLI]; United Roma Party of Kosovo or PREBK [Haxhi Zylfi MERXHA]
Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedom (human rights); Humanitarian Law Centre (human rights); Movement for Self-Determination; Serb National Council (SNV)
chief of mission: Ambassador Avni SPAHIU
chancery: 1101 30th Street NW, Suites 330/340, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: 202-380-3581
FAX: 202-380-3628
consulate(s) general: New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher William DELL
embassy: Arberia/Dragodan, Nazim Hikmet 30, Pristina, Kosovo
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [381] 38 59 59 3000
FAX: [381] 38 549 890
centered on a dark blue field is the geographical shape of Kosovo in a gold color surmounted by six white, five-pointed stars arrayed in a slight arc; each star represents one of the major ethnic groups of Kosovo: Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Roma, and Bosniaks
Economy ::Kosovo
Over the past few years Kosovo's economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system and maintaining macroeconomic stability, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany and Switzerland - are estimated to account for about 14% of GDP, and donor-financed activities and aid for another 7.5%. Kosovo's citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $2,500. Unemployment, around 40% of the population, is a significant problem that encourages outward migration and black market activity. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize 50% of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by number, and over 90% of SOEs by value. Minerals and metals - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once formed the backbone of industry, but output has declined because of ageing equipment and insufficient investment. A limited and unreliable electricity supply due to technical and financial problems is a major impediment to economic development. Kosovo's Ministry of Energy and Mining has solicited expressions of interest from private investors to develop a new power plant in order to address Kosovo and the region's unmet and growing demands for power. The official currency of Kosovo is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used in Serb enclaves. Kosovo's tie to the euro has helped keep core inflation low. Kosovo has one of the most open economies in the region, and continues to work with the international community on measures to improve the business environment and attract foreign investment. Kosovo has kept the government budget in balance as a result of efficient value added tax (VAT) collection at the borders and inefficient budget execution. In order to help integrate Kosovo into regional economic structures, UNMIK signed (on behalf of Kosovo) its accession to the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006. However, Serbia and Bosnia have refused to recognize Kosovo's customs stamp or extend reduced tariff privileges for Kosovo products under CEFTA. In July 2008, Kosovo received pledges of $1.9 billion from 37 countries in support of its reform priorities. In June 2009, Kosovo joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and Kosovo began servicing its share of the former Yugoslavia's debt.
$5.3 billion (2008)
country comparison to the world: 157
$3.237 billion (2007 est.)
$2,500 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 170
agriculture: 12.9%
industry: 22.6%
services: 64.5% (2009 est.)
agriculture: 16.5%
industry: NA
services: NA (2007 est.)
16.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
35% (2007 est.)
30 (FY05/06)
15.2% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
revenues: $1.19 billion
expenditures: $1.22 billion (2007 est.)
NA% of GDP
5.3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
13.79% (31 December 2008)
wheat, corn, berries, potatoes, peppers
mineral mining, construction materials, base metals, leather, machinery, appliances
832 million kWh (2006)
country comparison to the world: 150
4.281 billion kWh (2006)
country comparison to the world: 115
0 bbl/day (2007)
country comparison to the world: 159
NA bbl/day
NA bbl
0 cu m (2007)
country comparison to the world: 170
0 cu m (2007)
country comparison to the world: 123
NA cu m
-$2.938 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
-$8.72 billion (2008 est.)
$527 million (2007 est.)
mining and processed metal products, scrap metals, leather products, machinery, appliances
$2.6 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
foodstuffs, wood, petroleum, chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment
$21.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
$18.77 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7338 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007)
Communications ::Kosovo
106,300 (2006)
country comparison to the world: 143
562,000 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 154
Transportation ::Kosovo
8 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 165
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2010)
total: 4
under 914 m: 4 (2010)
2 (2010)
total: 430 km
country comparison to the world: 117
standard gauge: 430 km 1.435-m gauge (2007)
total: 1,926 km
country comparison to the world: 175
paved: 1,668 km
unpaved: 258 km (2009)
Military ::Kosovo
Kosovo Security Force (2010)
males age 16-49: 429,645
females age 16-49: 389,071 (2010 est.)
Transnational Issues ::Kosovo
Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaring itself as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers under UNMIK authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Kosovo and Macedonia completed demarcation of their boundary in September 2008
IDP's: 21,000 (2007)