Kosovo Serbs form own parliament, ignoring independence declaration

Kosovo's hard line Serb leaders formed their own parliament on Saturday, ignoring Kosovo's declaration of independence and defying its United Nations administrators. The action in the Serb-controlled half of the divided town of Mitrovica represents an attempt by the Serbs to split the disputed territory, which they claim as their own despite the Kosovo Albanian majority's Western-backed secession in February. "The assembly is the foundation of the Serb protection of Kosovo," said Marko Jaksic, one of the hardline Serb leaders. "We will not allow the formation of another Albanian state in this part of Europe." Creation of the new assembly is likely to inrease tensions between the Kosovo Albanians - 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million people - and the Serb minority. Their rivalry has brought the fledgling state to the verge of partition. The United States and other Western nations formally rejected the idea due to fears it could encourage separatism in neighboring Macedonia and Bosnia.