PM decides not to attend WW1 event in Sarajevo
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has announced that Serbia and the Serb Republic (RS) will this year jointly mark June 28 - Vidovdan.Source: Tanjug
The religious holiday, St. Vitus Day, and the date itself, have had exceptional significance for Serbs through centuries.
Vučić held a news conference in Belgrade on Friday along with President of the Serb entity in Bosnia, RS, Milorad Dodik, and film director Emir Kusturica, to say that Serbia is proud of its heroic history and traditions.
Vučić explained that there are several reasons to mark St. Vitus Day together and that for Serbia, "one of them is that it is a great Serbian holiday."
The prime minister said that another was the official opening of Andrićgrad near Višegrad, Bosnia, while for the RS, another reason was the anniversary of "Gavrilo Princip's Sarajevo assassination."
He also said that the official marking of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War would begin in Serbia a month later, on July 28 - when the country came under attack in 1914.
Vučić announced that Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić would also be in Andrićgrad, and noted that some "institutions and institutes" there have been supported by Serbia.
Vučić revealed that he would not go to Sarajevo for a commemoration of 100 years since the outbreak the war. Instead, he will spend June 28 "in Belgrade and Višegrad.
“It is my duty to be with our people - that is our biggest national holiday."
The prime minister said that there were two reasons why he could not be in Sarajevo. “I cannot stand next to a sign speaking about the fascist Serbian aggressor,” Vučić said, and added that another reason was the "script for the event" to which he objected "when it comes to some minor details," but that "a joint commemoration should have meant a joint preparation, and that has not been the case."
Vučić did not wish comment on a statement made this week by Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Bakir Izetbegović, who said the controversial sign on the town hall was there to mark “the time when genocide against Sarajevo started.”
"We are proud of our history, but I think it's time for Serbia, Germany and Austria to be on the same side," said Vučić, adding that he "can say that say in front of anyone, including Dodik, and in front of anyone else."
RS President Milorad Dodik also addressed reporters to say that on June 28 others will be presented with facts - "because the truth is clear to us."
"This is important because there has been a lot of speculation about that event, and on the same day in Sarajevo they will be trying to organize some programs that have different political messages," said Dodik.
He pointed out that the situation "essentially speaks about Bosnia-Herzegovina as a country where divisions are visible at every turn, and reality is ignored."
Dodik stressed that it was also apparent that Bosnia and its post-war Serb entity, the RS, "have nothing in common, except for international holidays and have always been on opposite sides throughout history and never gathered around the same values."
Film director Emir Kusturica, who heads the Andrićgrad project, was also at the government HQ on Friday to tell reporters that Serbs are proud of their history, that the nation had its state, elections, a constitution, and a prime minister in 1912, while Bosnia-Herzegovina was "the last among colonies" during the period when Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.
"That shot was the beginning of liberation from serfdom and slavery," said Kusturica.
"The assassination of Kennedy is referred to as the Kennedy assassination, and this one as the Sarajevo (assassination). I'll never understand that," he remarked.
According to Kusturica, "the act of tyrannicide was one of the reasons why he started the building at Andrićgrad precisely on Vidovdan," adding that what was promised has been fulfilled, and that a town has been completed there spreading on 42,000 square meters.
"We are proud of our history, we had a state in 1912... And today in Bosnia-Herzegovina we wish to achieve the minimum that Gavrilo Princip is someone about whom we can all agree," Kusturica said, adding that "singer Safet Isović once sang about Princip as a hero, and today, under pressure, Princip is treated as a terrorist."
As he said, the focal point Andrićgrad will be a huge mosaic mural "that neither Hitler nor any Izetbegović that will be there in the future will be able to take away." For this reason, Kusturica added, "it is important to open a town dedicated to culture."