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23:51 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Draft Kosovo constitution signed, parliament to ratify

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A draft constitution for Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in February, was signed on Monday, Albanian-language Kosovo media reported.
BELGRADE, April 7 (RIA Novosti) - A draft constitution for Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in February, was signed on Monday, Albanian-language Kosovo media reported.

"This is a constitution of possibilities, not obstacles," Deputy Kosovo Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci, who co-chairs the Constitutional Commission, said.

Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence on February 17, adopting a new national flag and national emblem. The province's sovereignty has so far been recognized by 36 countries including the United States and most European Union members.

Russia and China have consistently backed Belgrade's position that Kosovo must remain a part of Serbia.

The Constitutional Commission has been working on Kosovo's constitution for several months. Former UN Kosovo settlement envoy Martti Ahtisaari's proposals were taken as a basis for the document. These envisioned internationally supervised independence for the breakaway region.

The signing procedure will not automatically bring the constitution into force, as the commission will submit the document to parliament for further approval, but lawmakers are likely to adopt the constitution in its present form. It could enter into force in mid-June.

The draft constitution, which runs to over 60 pages, calls Kosovo a multiethnic republic with an Albanian majority, where ethnic minorities' rights must be protected. The document also envisions international forces in the region.