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Kosovar Officials Extend Census; Many Serbs Boycott

PRISTINA -- The Kosovar government has announced an extension in several municipalities of a nationwide census that had been due to end on April 15, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

It said the deadline for counting people would be extended until April 19 in the Pristina, Decan, Partesh, and Kllokot municipalities.

The census -- the first in Kosovo in 30 years -- began on April 1.

According to the Kosovo Institute of Statistics, about 1.5 million people were officially registered in the first 10 days of the census, which is the first since the UN-administered province unilaterally declared independence from Serbia three years ago.

Large parts of northern Kosovo populated by the ethnic Serbian minority boycotted the census despite the fact that UN officials were sent there to register people in place of Kosovar officials.

Ethnic Serbian leaders in northern of Kosovo had declared in early April that the census would only be acceptable to the Serbian community if it was conducted by members of the UN Mission in Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, and is recognized by 75 countries, including the United States and 22 European Union members.

The relationship between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs in the north has been tense despite progress between the two groups in other parts of Kosovo.