Key facts on Kosovo
(PRISTINA) - Here are key facts about Kosovo, which on Monday was to be granted full sovereignty as the main western countries end their international supervision of the territory:
- GEOGRAPHY: Kosovo is a land-locked territory in the southwestern Balkans with borders Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro.
Covering 10,877 square kilometres (4,200 square miles), it is slightly smaller than the US state of Connecticut and a little bigger than Lebanon.
- POPULATION: Around 1.8 million, down from around two million before the conflict of 1999.
About 90 percent of the population is ethnic Albanian, most of whom are Muslims. The small Serb population of about 100,000, concentrated mostly in enclaves in the north, has been steadily decreasing since the 1998-1999 war.
- HISTORY: Serbs believe Kosovo to be the birthplace of their state, for it was where the Serbian Orthodox Church had its seat, and also where the Serb army was defeated by the Turks in 1389.
The province was granted considerable autonomy in the federal Yugoslavia that emerged after World War II, but in 1989 Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic removed most of its privileges, leading to a rise in nationalistic tensions.
After the wars which tore apart the rest of Yugoslavia between 1990 and 1995, Milosevic moved to crush an independence movement in Kosovo, leading the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to intervene militarily in 1999.
Since then Kosovo has been effectively out of the control of the Serbian government in Belgrade, which still claims sovereignty over it.
The United Nations and NATO have security forces in Kosovo, which declared itself an independent nation in February 2008. Serbia still considers Kosovo a break-away province.
INSTITUTIONS: Kosovo has the institutions of a parliamentary democracy. Elections in 2011 were won by the Democratic Party of Kosovo, led by prime minister Hashim Thaci, the controversial former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army that helped win the 1999 war against Belgrade.
ECONOMY: The economy is mostly based on farming, but suffered great damage during the war. Kosovo remains one of the poorest regions in Europe, although it has rich deposits of coal, lead, zinc, chromium and silver. Kosovo's economy is still largely dependent on money from expatriates and donor aid.
According to the World Bank, Kosovo's per capita gross national product stood at 3,250 dollars in 2011.
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