No fanfare for the carve-up of Serbia

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VIENNA -- The Congress of Vienna famously re-drew the map of the world in 1815 to suit the major powers bidding farewell to the Napoleonic era.

This Friday the Austrian capital will host the beginnings of a 21st century diplomatic carve-up, without swords and feathered hats and on a far more modest scale, to bury the disastrous era of Slobodan Milosevic and the last vestige of Yugoslavia.

The state created in 1918 is no more. Slovenia and Macedonia walked off in 1991. Croatia and Bosnia had to fight brutal wars with their Serb minorities, backed by Belgrade. Last year, Serbia's sister republic Montenegro also went its own way.

But for Serbia, the next cut is the deepest. The province of Kosovo, medieval birthplace of the nation and treasury of its Orthodox tradition, is destined to slip from its sovereign territory. In a stroke, 15 percent of the land will be gone.

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