Feb 17, BBC News

Kosovo's parliament has unanimously endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia, in a historic session.

Celebrations went on into the night after Prime Minister Hashim Thaci promised a democracy that respected the rights of all ethnic communities.

Serbia's PM denounced the US for helping create a "false state".

A split later emerged at the Security Council, when Russia said there was no basis for changing a 1999 resolution which handed Kosovo to the UN.

Seven Western countries said it was quite clear the situation had moved on.

Tens of thousands of people had thronged the streets of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, since the morning.

When news came of the declaration in parliament, the centre of the city erupted with fireworks, firecrackers and celebratory gunfire.

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photo: Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (centre) shakes hands in parliament (17/02/08)/Getty Images