Kosovo adopts wordless national anthem
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Kosovo adopts wordless national anthem
Kosovo adopted a national anthem on Wednesday, days before its constitution comes into effect, but chose music without lyrics to avoid offending the newly-independent state's Serb minority.

The new anthem by ethnic-Albanian composer Mendi Mengjiqi was approved by parliament in a ceremonial session after he won a competition that forbade references to the cultures of any of Kosovo's ethnic groups.  

"If we put the anthem in Albanian, the Serbs would not see that anthem as their own," a government source said.

Kosovo chose a new flag on Feb. 17 when it declared independence, nine years after the United Nations took control of the then Serbian province.

Kosovo's Albanian majority has used Albania's flag and anthem since 1999 when NATO bombs expelled Serb troops accused of ethnic cleansing.

The anthem, entitled "Europe", and the flag were picked in accordance with a plan proposed by former U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari, which said Kosovo's new symbols should reflect the multi-ethnic character of the country, which is also home to Serbs, Turks and Roma.

Serbia and its ally Russia oppose the independence of Kosovo which has, nevertheless, been recognized by 42 countries, including the United States and most EU states.

Kosovo hopes for more recognitions after June 15, when its constitution comes into effect.