Serbian country codes

Doug Ewell dewell at
Tue Jun 6 08:04:28 CEST 2006

As most list members probably know, Montenegro voted two weeks ago to 
leave the confederation of Serbia and Montenegro (our dear friend "CS") 
and declared its independence.  More recently, Serbia completed the 
circle by declaring independence from Montenegro on June 5.

While there is no official statement yet on the ISO 3166/MA Web site, it 
is widely expected [citation needed] that the MA will withdraw the 
controversial alpha-2 code element CS and assign two new code elements 
for the two new countries.  Of course, this would affect the Language 
Subtag Registry by causing the region subtag CS to be deprecated and two 
new subtags to be added.

There is an article on Wikipedia titled "Serbian country codes" which 
gives one Belgrade resident's take on the matter.  The following passage 
may be of interest, especially the last paragraph, which would 
constitute a mistake orders of magnitude greater than the reuse of CS.

--- begin quote ---

Two-letter ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2

This code, used also as Internet TLD, is the major problem with ISO 
assignment to Serbia. All combinations of S as a first letter and any 
other letter in word Serbia, or even Srbija (in Serbian), are already 
taken by other states:

Country names           Alpha-2
-------------           -------
Saudi Arabia            SA
Slovenia                SI
Solomon Islands         SB
Suriname                SR
Svalbard and Jan Mayen  SJ
Sweden                  SE

There have been unofficial suggestions that Alpha-2 code for Serbia 
should be RS (Republic of Serbia), which is unlikely, as no country has 
its form of government in these codes. Other solutions could be 
"generic" SS or SX, although SS is to be avoided for its association 
with Nazi Schutzstaffel.

As this code is also to be used as Internet top-level domain for the 
country, there have been rumors of approaching either International 
Organization for Standardization, United Nations or one of the countries 
in the list in order to switch the codes. Likely options would be SB 
(Solomon Islands) and SJ (Svalbard and Jan Mayen).

--- end quote ---

Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California, USA

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