At the turn of the decade Yugoslavia was a beach-haven bonanza about to happen, the next big thing, an irresistible magnet for a tide of European flesh longing to laze in the sun. Six years later the tourist market had turned its gaze elsewhere - lying face down on the ground no longer had happy associations for the Yugoslavs. Five years of civil war cost the country most of its coastline, many of its old towns and almost all of its pulling power, but the travellers began to trickle back. Then the next installment of the war began.
This time it was over the disputed territory of Kosovo (or Kosova, if you happen to be an ethnic Albanian living there). Despite a peace agreement and millions of words traded at negotiation tables from Paris to Belgrade to Pristina, Kosovo wouldn't go away. The politicians and diplomats finally ran out of words and NATO reached for its bomber jackets, claiming the Serbs had violated the ceasefire agreement. Milosevic couldn't be bombed into submission but was eventually ousted after a mass Belgrade demonstration when he refused to concede defeat in the September 2000 election. New president Kostunica is trying to rebuild the republic and is being watched carefully by the international community - meanwhile, UN peacekeepers still patrol Kosovo, which along with the regions of Montenegro and Vojvodina has not given up hopes for independence.
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Off the beaten track