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Kosovo’s independence is legal, court finds

Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 was legal, the International Court of Justice ruled in a 10-4 vote Thursday.

There were celebrations in Pristina, with fireworks being set off in the capital of Kosovo after the finding was announced, journalist Vlora Rrustemi told CNN.

But Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic expressed disappointment, saying Belgrade had hoped for a “peaceful compromise solution” that did not create “dangerous secessionist precedents” elsewhere in the world.

The U.N. General Assembly asked the court to clarify the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, based on a request from Serbia, and the court held hearings last December.

Serbia maintains Kosovo’s move for independence was illegal and that it remains a part of the Serbian republic.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called the president of Serbia before the court made its announcement, the White House said.

Biden told Boris Tadic that Washington fully supports “a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo, and he reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the administration said. More >