Febrary 17, 2008 -- Kosovo declares independence
The Republic of Kosovo declared independence on Feb. 17, 2008, and during the following days, a number of states (the United States, Turkey, Albania, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of China [Taiwan], Australia, Poland and others) announced their recognition, despite protests by Russia and others in the UN. As of Jan. 23, 2012, 86 UN states recognize the independence of Kosovo and it has become a member country of the IMF and World Bank as the Republic of Kosovo.
The UN Security Council remains divided on the question (as of July 4, 2008). Of the five members with veto power, the US, UK, and France recognized the declaration of independence, and the People's Republic of China has expressed concern, while Russia considers it illegal. Kosovo has not made a formal application for UN membership yet.
In October 2008, Kosovo opened an embassy in Washington, DC. Kosovo has 21 diplomatic missions and 13 consular posts worldwide.
Kosovo's current status is the result of the turmoil of the breakup of Yugoslavia, particularly the Kosovo War of 1998 to 1999, but it is suffused with issues dating back to the rise of nationalism in the Balkans during the last part of Ottoman rule in the 19th century.