Serbian president attends Operation Storm commemoration

On bridge crossed by Serb refugees 25 years ago

05 August, 12:54

    (ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, AUGUST 5 - Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic took part in a commemoration ceremony Tuesday evening in a location near the border between Serbia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

    The ceremony marked the day when, in 1995, the Croatian military's Operation Storm, which marked the end of the war for independence of the socialist Yugoslav country, and was in remembrance of the Serbian victims and refugees that resulted.

    This event continues to deeply divide the two countries. Serbia continues to call it an act of genocide, while Croatia considers it to have bene a legitimate act in a war for independence. On one side of the border there is mourning and pain, celebration and rejoicing on the other.

    Operation Storm led to almost 2,000 Serb victims and about 250,000 Serb civilians were forced to leave their homes in the Krajna region.

    The ceremony on Tuesday evening was held in Sremska Raca on a bridge on the Sava river, which thousands of Serb refugees crossed 25 years ago.

    Vucic stressed that Serbia has not forgotten the crimes suffered and will never be happy about the victims and sufferings of others, since Serbia respects all victims and "this is what sets it apart" from others.

    However, he added, ''Serbia will not allow anyone to be silent about its victims. Yes to peace and reconciliation but never to humiliation.'' Vucic was alluding to a decision by the deputy prime minister of the Croatian government, who belongs to the Serb minority, to take part in Croatia's official celebration on Wednesday for the 25th anniversary of the success of Operation Storm.

    ''We cannot celebrate the tragedy of the Serb population, the killing of Serb civilians and children. Serbia will never accept such a humiliation.'' Also taking part in the commemoration ceremony were the leaders of Republika Srpska, the Serb-majority part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Orthodox Serb patriarch Irinej.

    The patriarch criticised Croatia's celebrations, saying that it was treating a tragedy of the Serb population as if it were a major triumph.

    He also criticised the Croatian Catholic Church, which, he said, is silent about the crimes suffered by Serbs. (ANSAmed)..

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