Swedish FM: Hague Tribunal returns region to past

WASHINGTON -- Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has said that the Hague Tribunal is taking the Balkans region too far back in the past.

Carl Bildt (B92, file)
Carl Bildt (B92, file)

He said that one should turn to the future and reconciliation of the people in the region instead.

Bildt said in Washington that one needed to be careful when commenting on the Hague Tribunal’s verdicts.

He added that he still had not read the verdicts to Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač and former commander of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Ramush Haradinaj and that he needed to study them carefully.

When asked if he had any message for the Serbian citizens after the Hague Tribunal’s verdicts that noted that nobody was guilty of ethnic cleansing in Croatia and crimes against Serb civilians in Kosovo, he said that people of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina should not allow the pain from their past to stand in the way of opportunities offered by the future.

“Some previous verdicts were less convincing, some more. It is important for the people of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina that the pain from the past does not block opportunities offered by the future,” Bildt pointed out.

He added that visible progress was made in the region when it came to mutual relations, adding that he had personally seen many vehicles with Belgrade license plates all over Croatia during summer and many Croats and Slovenians who run their businesses in Belgrade.

“Serbia and Kosovo’s prime ministers are now sitting down and talking which was unimaginable just a few months ago,” the Swedish foreign minister explained.

He said he believed that the Hague Tribunal was taking the region too far back in the past, adding that the reconciliation process “should start in the region among people who used to live together and know each other well”.