Page last updated at 21:00 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 22:00 UK

Kosovo moves to issue passports

Kosovan passport (screen grab from Kosovan interior ministry website)
The passports will have a validity period of 10 years

Kosovo has begun accepting applications for passports, five months after its parliament unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.

Hundreds of people queued for hours in Pristina to apply for the document which is blue and trilingual - in Albanian, Serbian and English.

Interior ministry officials are working extra hours to cope with demand.

It was not immediately clear if the passports would be accepted in states which did not recognise independence.

Existing UN travel documents should be valid for travel to those countries, the Associated Press news agency says.

To date, 43 states have recognised Kosovo as an independent state while Serbia and its ally Russia have led opposition, insisting the breakaway territory should remain a province of Serbia.

It is expected the new passports will be issued from next week, AP says.

People lining up on Monday to hand in the necessary documents were asked to pay 25 euros ($39) for the cost of issuing a passport.

Some complained about the lengthy wait outside the interior ministry.

"It's been very bad, it's so chaotic - I've been waiting for almost two hours just to get some information," said one local, Berat Domi.

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