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Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 15:21 UK

Kosovo MPs choose national anthem

UN soldiers on the crossing between Kosovo and Serbia
Kosovo had been administered by the UN since the 1990s

Kosovo's parliament has chosen a national anthem during a special session in Pristina.

The new anthem is called Europe. It has no lyrics and was written by the Kosovo composer Mendi Mengjiqi.

MPs voted on a shortlist of three songs chosen in a competition. The rules stated that the song should not imply loyalty to any particular ethnic group.

The territory declared independence from Serbia in February amid strong opposition from the Serb minority.

Mr Mengjiqi's entry has won him a 10,000 euro ($15,500; 7,900) prize.

Kosovo's leaders wanted the national anthem to be adopted ahead of the weekend, when Kosovo's constitution is due to come into force.

For the authorities, it is a crucial part of nation building and is something which is designed to unite the people of Kosovo, says the BBC's Helen Fawkes in Pristina.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said the anthem was important for Kosovo.

"Kosovo is a country of all citizens, a country of new democracy, a country of peace, tolerance and stability," he told the BBC.

Serbia, which bitterly opposed Kosovo's declaration of independence, is likely to see the adoption of the anthem as yet another provocative move.


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