World court to rule on Kosovo independence.
The United Nations' highest court is issuing an advisory opinion Thursday on whether Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia was legal, a ruling that could set a precedent for separatist regions around the world. The International Court of Justice advice is nonbinding, but it is expected to renew pressure for a resumption of talks between Belgrade and Pristina about Kosovo's future status, according to AP. However, at a court hearing last December, Kosovo's Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni said it would be A1/2inconceivablee to reopen negotiations and warned that the court's opinion A1/2could even spark new conflict in the region.e Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians decided to split from Serbia after almost two years of internationally monitored talks failed with Serbia. Kosovo has been recognized as an independent state by 69 countries, including the United States and most EU nations. But a diplomatic campaign by Serbia has prevented more countries from recognizing Kosovo, which Serbs consider the cradle of their national identity. Serbian Orthodox Church elders ordered all their churches in Serbia and Kosovo to toll their bells Thursday at 5 p.m. for five minutes _ when the decision is expected to be announced _ as a prayer for a favorable ruling by the court. Serbian President Boris Tadic said Wednesday he expects that the court will rule that Kosovo Albanians had no legal right to secede. A1/2If the International Court of Justice sets a new principle, it would trigger a process that would create several new countries and destabilize numerous regions in the world,e he added. Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, said he did not expect A1/2winners or loserse to emerge from the court's opinion. A1/2I expect this to be a correct decision, according to the will of Kosovo's citizen. Kosovo will respect the advisory opinion,e Thaci told The Associated Press by phone. He said he expected the decision to A1/2open up a new perspective for integration into NATO and the EU and a new set of relations and cooperation between Kosovo and Serbia as two partner countries.e
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