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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: 156 - (25/05/10)

Every sensible suitor knows when to press his suit
Serbia is incredibly keen to join the EU. But it is far from sure that this is the right moment to press the matter.

Its greatest advocate is Greece, hardly in the best books of Brussels right now, being a possible candidate for being evicted from the Euro zone.

The European option is still the ultimate one for Belgrade; and one that Brussels knows full well is the best guarantee for stability in the Balkans. Serbia has an excellent chance of joining the EU. But it must bide its time for the while.

Serbian Foreign minister Yuk Jeremić said that Serbia has shown good will and he hopes that the countries of the region will show the same at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sarajevo on June 2, adding that he hopes the summit will be “a strong signal for the EU that the region has matured and is ready to cooperate, despite differences.”

The past is not quite over; the future is at hand
Someone is still protecting the greatest European war criminal alive, although there are various contenders for that. In a very important development, Serbia has given the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) the personal war diaries of Republika Srpska General Ratko Mladic, who was the supreme commander of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) during the 1991-1992 Bosnian War. Serbian authorities confiscated the war diaries from his wife, Bosiljka Mladic, during a raid of her apartment in February.

The Serb authorities found 18 hand-written diaries that contain 3,500 pages spanning the time period of 29 June 1991 to 28 November 1996, and according to the Prosecution, "...'constitute a significant volume of new evidence.'" Republika Srpska General Manojlo Milovanovic, who was Mladic's deputy, "...identified them as having been written by Mladic, saying that the general took notes during every meeting he attended."

"Among others topics, the diaries contain notes from the meeting of the Supreme Command of the VRS from 15 August 1993 regarding sanctions being threatened by the international community in relation to the situation in Sarajevo; notes about military plans in Sarajevo and Goražde; and notes about Mladic's meeting with senior international peacekeepers concerning the treatment of Srebrenica's population.

Copies of parts of the diaries were published late last year by Belgrade daily Blic and Sarajevo weekly Slobodna Bosna. They showed that Mladic often met Serbian officials and that he arranged military shipments from the former Soviet Union via Serbia during the war in Bosnia."

Former Serbian President Slobodan Miloševic had claimed that Serbia had no involvement with the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina; information contained in Mladic's diaries are said to prove otherwise. The Prosecution plans to use evidence gained in Mladic's diaries against former Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadžic, who is currently on trial in the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mladic is accused by the ICTY of eleven counts of war crimes: two counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, three counts of violations of the laws and customs of war, and one count of grave violations of the Geneva Conventions, as well as the unlawful transfer of civilians due to religious or national identity. Ratko Mladic together with Radovan Karadžic, "...was a key member of an overarching joint criminal enterprise the objective of which was the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and Croats from the territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina that Bosnian Serbs claimed for themselves."

He is currently at-large, but believed to be hiding in somewhere in Serbia. The arrest of Mladic is a key condition of Serbia's bid to join the European Union.

A new nation - Kosovo
Meanwhile, however galling to Serbian pride, a new nation is forming out of its midst, before the due nuptials with the West. An historic day happened in 2008. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17 of that year, ending a long chapter in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia. This was the logical conclusion to the war of 1998-99.

The proclamation was made by leaders of the breakaway province's 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority, including former guerrillas who fought for independence in a 1998-99 war which claimed about 10,000 civilian lives.

Belgrade bitterly opposes the secession. Backed by Russia, Serbs vow never to give up the territory, in which their history goes back 1,000 years.

But the West supports the demand of Kosovo's 2 million ethnic Albanians for their own state, a decade after NATO went to war to save them from Serbian forces.

Kosovo is the sixth state carved from the former Serbian-dominated Yugoslav federation since 1991, after Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro.

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