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Kosovo celebrates 5 years since contested secession from Serbia

  • a95bc4a6ce52c605290f6a7067003a86.jpg

    A Kosovo Albanian youth wearing ski goggles and a Kosovo flag stands near the "NEWBORN" monument painted with flags of the countries that have recognized Kosovo's independence marking the 5th anniversary since Kosovo seceded from Serbia in capital Pristina on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Serbia rejects Kosovo independence. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

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    A Kosovo Security Force honor guard parades in the center of Pristina marking the 5th anniversary since Kosovo seceded from Serbia on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Serbia rejects Kosovo's independence. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

  • 96bbf9adce23c505290f6a7067002f61.jpg

    Kosovo Albanian musicians play on the streets of Pristina celebrating the 5th anniversary since Kosovo seceded from Serbia on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Serbia rejects Kosovo's independence. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

  • ab05f7cace54c605290f6a7067004456.jpg

    A Kosovo Albanian man gives a victory salute as he walks past the "NEWBORN" monument painted with flags of the countries that have recognized Kosovo's independence marking the 5th anniversary since Kosovo seceded from Serbia in capital Pristina on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Serbia rejects Kosovo independence. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

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    A Kosovo Security Force honor guard leads the parade in the center of Pristina marking the 5th anniversary since Kosovo seceded from Serbia Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Serbia rejects Kosovo's independence. Banner on wall at right shows the late Kosovo leader Ibrahim Rugova. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their declaration of independence from Serbia with a parade of police and armed forces in the main square of Pristina, the capital.

It's the first time such forces have been used in a parade since the end of the 1998-99 war with Serbia.

Kosovo's lightly armed Kosovo Security Force paraded on Sunday in armored vehicles alongside firefighters and special police units wearing masks to conceal their identities. The NATO-trained force has 2,500 members and wants to become an army, but alliance members such as Greece and Spain oppose that because they reject Kosovo's independence.

Ninety-six nations have recognized Kosovo's independence, but Serbia claims the territory as its own. The European Union is currently mediating talks between the two former foes.