PM says he is ready to pay respects in Srebrenica

"If Bosniaks want it and if that is not an additional difficulty for them, I will be ready to honor Muslim victims in Srebrenica," says Aleksandar Vucic.

Source: B92

"As prime minister I am ready to bow and lower my head and show what kind of relationship we Serbs have towards the innocent victims of Srebrenica. That those 99.9 percent of Serbs who did not participate in the crime can go with their head held high anywhere in the world," Vucic said in remarks to the media in Belgrade on Friday.

As he stated, a serious and gruesome crime had occurred in Srebrenica, "and the Serb people, as a nation that from the Balkan wars until the 1990s suffered the most, in order to show their greatness must demonstrate respect for other people's suffering and pain of others."

"To denigrate other people's pain and suffering will take us nowhere. We must more than anybody else, and not because some foreigners tell us to. We must show more that we respect the suffering and pain," said he.

According to him, Serbs and Bosniaks "since the Balkan wars were often on different sides."

"We only counted the dead in the Drina valley. We didn't even exchange the wounded. Are we going to do that in the future? Do we need someone from the outside to give us lectures? Shall we count ourselves again? For our rivers to be bloody again and to then have to live together again," said Vucic.

The Serbian prime minister then stated that "we Serbs will not hide our contempt, will not stop fighting those who have tarnished the face the Serb people in Srebenica."

"We will not hide and pretend not to see and relativize that crime. It is a great and terrible crime. I think work should have been done on trust and not on additional destabilization. The proposals on the (Srebrenica) resolution only brought destabilization," said Vucic.

"That is why the Serbian government can vote neither for nor against, and cannot support the proposed resolution," said said.

Vucic then spoke about the arrest of Naser Oric in Switzerland, on a Serbian warrant, and read out the details of one of the indictments against him. It stated that Oric ordered a unit of Muslims from Srebrenica, dubbed "Kondori," to "clean up" Zalazje and other Serb villages in this municipality, and gave them free reign "to do whatever they like to prisoners, and not leave behind even a chicken or a pig."

Vucic also read the statement of one of the witnesses who said the group led by Oric murdered several Serb civilians using knives, and that Oric used his knife to gouge out the eyes of Slobodan Ilic, a judge from Srebrenica, and then murder him.

Vucic then clarified that "Serbia must not give up on the request for Naser Oric's extradition."

"Who is asking, whose mother's son on the face of the Earth is asking for this not to be prosecuted?," asked he, adding that he was "ready for anything to preserve political stability but that crimes cannot be pardoned."

"Do you think that the state of Serbia can give up on the request for Oric's extradition... are you asking Serbia and me to put pressure on Serbia's organs for this not to be processed? We have witnesses, living people," Vucic pointed out, and further read that Oric's group took eight persons, a woman among them, prisoner, and then murdered them.

As for the arrest in Slovenia of the former KLA leader Ramush Haradinaj, Vucic said he "did not discuss it with Slovenia's authorities," as he "does not interfere in the work of judicial organs."

He added that the Serbian MUP had received "a certain note," and sent a reply.

"We are acting in line with the requests we are receiving from investigative organs of Switzerland and Slovenia," he said, adding that the Haradinaj case was "significantly different" from the arrest of Oric.

Speaking about Hungary's plans to build a fence along the border with Serbia to keep out migrants, Vucic said:

"Our neighbors with whom we invested a lot to remove barriers have come to the idea of building a wall toward Serbia because of Syrian migrants. I will speak with Oran and plead that this wall not be raised."

He also said he "did not understand" the response "of our EU friends" to these plans, who "stated they could acknowledge that something bad is happening."

"This sends the message that irresponsible actions will not be sanctioned," Vucic stressed, adding that "1961, when the last such wall was built, happened a long time ago."

According to Vucic, "the upcoming goal for Serbia is June 23 when eyes of the entire world will be on Brussels."

"The Serb side is fighting to reach compromises. You know, I do not like to criticize the other side, but it takes two to tango," Vucic stated, in reference to Kosovo negotiations.


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