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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 106
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)


Update No: 112 - (26/09/06)

The Serbs cling on
The Serbs are an extraordinary people. They cultivate defeat. They were decisively defeated at the Battle of the Field of Blackbirds in 1939, leading to six centuries of subjection to the Ottomans. Yet they commemorate this as the foundation of their nation, which in a sense it was.
They lost four wars on the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Serbia will continue to oppose independence for Kosovo even if its EU bid is harmed as a result, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told a Belgrade daily.

'Kosovo is ours' 
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica says Belgrade can agree to "substantial autonomy" but not independence for Kosovo. 
Serbia will not accept independence as a solution to the Kosovo status issue, even if its EU membership bid should suffer as a result, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said, in an interview published on 31st July. 
"Serbia will reject a solution that takes Kosovo away from Serbia and, very importantly, will continue to consider Kosovo part of its territory," he told the Belgrade daily Danas. 
Kosovo has some spectacularly beautiful, and poignantly so, Serbian Orthodox churches and cathedrals, but fewer than 10 per cent of the population are any longer Serbs.
No matter. once Serbian, a piece of territory is forever to be Serbian. 

Forget about the EU
According to Kostunica, some within the international community have suggested that Serbia give up Kosovo for the sake of EU membership. While entry into the Union requires meeting certain conditions, these do not include "territorial concessions," the prime minister said. 
Legally still part of Serbia, Kosovo has been under UN administration since June 1999, when a 78-day NATO intervention ended months of fighting between Kosovo Albanian guerrillas and Serb forces accused of ethnic cleansing in the province. 
The 1998-1999 conflict left some 10,000 Kosovo Albanians dead and forced about 800,000 to flee their homes. Today, there are about 100,000 ethnic Serbs still living in the province, where the ethnic Albanian majority accounts for 90 per cent of its population of 2 million. 
UN-led talks to determine Kosovo's final status have yet to see a significant breakthrough. The two sides remain far apart in their positions, with the Kosovo Albanians saying they will accept nothing short of independence and Serbia insisting it will agree only to "substantial autonomy." 

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Citing Western diplomats, Reuters reported that the major powers involved in the status process see little alternative to independence, with EU and NATO supervision for years to come. 
UN Special Envoy Marrti Ahtisaari is said to be planning to brief the UN Security Council on the status negotiations in late September. If an agreement has not been reached, the Security Council could impose a solution. 
"Serbia's position will be to reiterate that Kosovo is a part of Serbia," said Kostunica. "This is not empty rhetoric, but a legal and constitutional formulation." 

By the law; but not force 
But he made a most significant concession. He distanced himself from a recent statement by Tomislav Nicolic, deputy leader of the ultra nationalist Serbian Radical Party, who said Serbia should "fight for Kosovo" in the event the province gains independence. 
"Serbia so far has reached only for legal arguments, not force," Kostunica said. "That is how it would act in the future." 
Serbian Defence Minister Zoran Stankovic said the army was not preparing for war in response to Kosovo's possible secession. "We are not thinking about armed conflicts, nor do we intend to prepare the armed forces for active participation in armed conflicts," the minister said during a visit to Novi Sad, Bosnia.

Not even the Russians
Actually the Serbs are convinced that the whole world is against them. A common misperception is that the Russians are the Serbs' historical friends, but as the Serb saying goes, "God help us if the Russians arrive." 
Indeed, as no nation has friends, but rather allies of immediate convenience, Putin is ready to sacrifice Kosovo to set a precedent for Transnistria, Abkhazia, and Nagorno-Karabakh, some of which will prove troubling for US plans in dominating the Caucasus oil supply. Moreover, Kosovo independence will affirm to countless separatist groups worldwide that military escalation combined with public relations will eventually yield results, thus making increased localized warfare inevitable. 
Unsurprisingly, many 'political' Serbs have a torturous view of themselves and of 'the plots against them.' In the Balkans, it appears to some that Washington wishes not the continuation of Belgrade's current "collaborative" policies, but rather to force Serbia into a corner, thus driving the Serbian populace towards the Radicals, and thereby creating a justification to isolate Serbia yet again, all the while claiming the Serbs have "chosen the forces of darkness and isolation over a brighter European future." 
With the release of Muslim war criminal Naser Oric from ICTY Hague detention, and continued although unanswered demands for the arrest and extradition of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, the Serbian populace may have achieved final proof that the international policy bias was not a series of mistakes, but rather intended as humiliation. Provoking their self-defeating spite will again enable a free hand to Washington militarists to exact further reprisals in a continuing message to global rivals, and conveniently causing further disunity in Europe. As for the Serbs, damned if they do, and damned if they don't. 
Predictably, the US can then jump back into pre-determined paradigms of demanding special status for Sandzak/Raska, Presevo area, eastern Montenegro, Voivodina, and western Macedonia. Undoubtedly media war, and Albanian terrorist actions, will be employed as provocations, and already US Marines are training with maps of Montenegro, to 'intervene to stop "genocide" against Albanians.' The humiliating psychological conditions are not too dissimilar to those imposed on Germany at Versailles, and may yet contribute to armed conflict at a later date. As far as NATO is concerned, this may be in their perceived interests. Thus runs the paranoia!
Unfortunately, many Serbs are still stuck in outdated paradigms themselves, appealing to logic, reason and decency which have long since been forgone in the halls of power in Washington and the capitols of the co-opted. One Western analyst opined that "most Serbian politicians are fighting over money…." With gauleiters unwittingly assisting in a phased plan of dismemberment, time may be running short. 
Possible encouraging signs include the appointment to DCI of Gen. Michael Hayden, who along with his mentor Gen. Charles G. Boyd has been outspoken in his criticism of US policy and media bias against the Serbs, singling out CNN and the New York Times by name for their duplicity. But as one intelligence analyst noted, Hayden may become "boxed into a corner [at the CIA] in five minutes." Ohio National Guard troops are training Serbian Army troops in Serbia, and two US F-16's recently touched down in a courtesy call to the Serbian military - 'sans accoutrements explosifs' of 1999. Clearly there is some diversity of opinion in Washington and Langley. 
But as one Serbian-American publisher said, "a conspiracy of silence continues" about the realities of the previous and current Balkan conflicts, which could prepare the way for US public support for continued US moves against Serbia -- should darker forces win out. 

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