Kosovo now has a new Constitution, following the province's decision on February 17 this year to claim independence from Serbia, the BBC reports. The Pristina-based government will take over much of the prerogatives held in the province so far by the United Nations.

Kosovo Deputy PM Hajredin Kuci said on the occasion that the will of the Kosovo people and the provisions of the Ahtisaari plan providing for a decentralized system in Kosovo and considerable autonomy for ethnic Serbs there were included in the Constitution.

Kuci said the new Constitution was made for a modern, democratic and sovereign state under international supervision. The European Union is due to send a 2,200-strong civilian mission in the region. EULEX was to start its activities this weekend but Russia blocked the deployment of observers as Moscow demands UN Security Council approval for the EU mission.

Serbia is not recognizing the new Kosovo Constitution as President Boris Tadic said his country would push for a continuation of talks on the future of the province.