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Kosovo tense on independence anniversary

Kosovo tense on independence anniversary
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Ethnic Albanian families joined a convoy of floats travelling through the city of Mitrovica on Friday to mark the fourth anniversary of independence from Serbia.

However, while many celebrated by cutting a gigantic cake in the colours of the Kosovan flag, their city remained divided. The north side of the city is the de facto capital of the Serb enclave in north Kosovo.

Hours earlier, Serbs voted an overwhelming “no” in a referendum to decide whether to accept the legitimacy of a Kosovo state. Despite 99.7% voting against the motion, Albanian officials say they’re still hopeful.

“I would ask the Serbs of the north to join us and to be part of our government,” said Avni Kastrati, mayor of the south side of the city.

“I also request the three municipalities in north Kosovo to join with our officials so we can start rebuilding our country together,” he added.

Michel Santos, euronews correspondent in Mitrovica said wounds between the two ethnic groups are still fresh, despite four years since Kosovan independence.

“Although there is room for reconciliation, the future now rests with politicians,” said Santos.