Kosovo officially declared independence from Serbia on Sunday. Kosovo, the seventh state to emerge from the former Yugoslavia, worked with international actors, in hopes to be accepted into the international community. On Monday, President Bush gave his approval and signaled that full recognition will come soon. Europe is divided on whether to recognize the new country. Spain, Russian, and China have expressed concern over the secession.
Officially a province of Serbia, Kosovo has been under UN jurisdiction since 1999 when NATO threw out the Serbian government. Serbia, a strong ally of Russia, believes the succession is illegal, and will lower diplomatic relations with the countries that extend recognition. Out of the 2 million residents of Kosovo, 130,000 are ethnic Serbians. Convincing this minority to accept and participate in an independent Kosovo will be a significant challenge. Ethnic Albanians make up the majority of the population.
In 1991, Kosovo declared its independence, to no avail. Albania was the only country to recognize it.