Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unrest hurts Serbian economy

Unrest hurts Serbian economy
Published:Feb 26, 2008

Belgrade - Foreign investors have been backing out of Serbia since violence erupted during protests last week against Kosovo's independence, Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic said.
"At the moment, foreign investors do not consider Serbia as a heaven for financial investment," Dinkic told reporters here.
"The situation is not alarming, but we certainly should not neglect and underestimate it," said Dinkic.
"We have had a week of stoppage, crisis on the stock market, attack against the dinar. We should not let this period continue," he warned.
Citing some examples, Dinkic said several Italian companies had ordered their lawyers to sell previously purchased Serbian land intended for greenfield investments.
He added that representatives of General Motors, the giant US car-maker, had also cancelled a visit to the Balkan country planned for Tuesday.
On Thursday night, hundreds of rioters stormed and set ablaze the US embassy of Belgrade during an anti-Kosovo independence rally, leaving one Serbian man dead.
Also attacked were several diplomatic missions and businesses of other mostly Western countries that have recognised Kosovo's independence, which was proclaimed unilaterally on February 17.
Nationalist Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Monday that there would be no normalisation of relations with states that recognise Kosovo until the move is "annulled."
But Dinkic said this was only a form of "diplomatic pressure."
"It is important to separate the diplomatic effort (over Kosovo) from what economic departments of the government are doing," Dinkic said.
"If there is peace and order on the streets of Serbia, investors will continue to invest," he said, adding all foreigners were welcome to invest in Serbia "regardless of the country they come from."


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