Kosovo Looks Anxiously Toward Independence

Kosovo Looks Anxiously Toward Independence

PRISTINA, Kosovo -- Weaving through the narrow mountain roads over the Bosnian-Montenegrin border in a blue mini passenger bus, Bulajic Veselin fidgeted impatiently for the duration of his six-hour journey. Traveling to his hometown of Niksic, Montenegro, from the University of Tuzla in Bosnia, this trip held a special significance for Veselin.

For the first time in his life, the 25-year old medical student was returning home to a free and independent Montenegro. "This is a historic time for my country," he says, pointing enthusiastically to the grassy hills and mountain lakes as though seeing them for the first time. "It is an emotional time for us -- to have a country of our own, as it should be."

Based on the results of a country-wide referendum held in May, Montenegro was declared an independent state -- free from Serbian rule, and further away from a dark legacy cast over the region prior to the collapse of communist Yugoslavia. Only weeks after the vote, Montenegro would become the 192nd member state of the United Nations.

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