Kosovo Eager for Freedom's Ring

New nation resents being stuck with Serbian dialing code
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2008 10:23 AM CDT
Kosovo Eager for Freedom's Ring
Celebrations of Kosovo's independence in Pristina. Recognized by three dozen nations, the new republic still uses the old Serbian country code for international calls.   ((c) Shkumbin)

Kosovo has won recognition as an independent state from three dozen countries, but a call to the world's newest nation is a reminder of its history. Telephone numbers in Kosovo still begin with the old Serbian dialing code, and the breakaway republic now wants its own international prefix. It's not an isolated case, writes the Wall Street Journal: from Palestine to Taiwan, a country code can inspire as much patriotic fervor as a flag.

Last year Montenegro, which broke away from Serbia, got its own country code. But without a UN resolution recognizing Kosovo as independent, the new nation is still stuck with the old prefix. The issue is so contentious that Kosovo's telecom regulator has become the target of gun and rocket attacks. "I was not prepared for this kind of debate," said the regulator, who now travels with a police detail. (More Kosovo stories.)

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