Serbia won't react to WW1 ceremony scandal in France - FM

Serbia will not lodge a protest with France over the displaying of the flag of Kosovo at the Notre-Dame cathedral, said Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
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(screen capture, TV Prva)
(screen capture, TV Prva)

Dacic explained the absence of any official reaction of Belgrade by the announced visit to Serbia by the French president.

"Bearing in mind the upcoming visit by Emmanuel Macron, the first visit of a French president to Serbia after 18 years, it is my opinion is that this should be left for discussion," Dacic told Belgrade-based daily Politika.

The head of Serbian diplomacy rated the showing of the Kosovo flag at the Notre-Dame as "generally a big scandal because there is no military parade where the defeated participate as well."

"We cannot stop this, but we can have better relations with Paris, that's why the upcoming visit by Emmanuel Macron is extremely important," Dacic said, adding that he does not know "how (Kosovo President Hashim) Thaci accepted the invitation to participate (in the ceremony in France marking the allied victory 100 years ago in WW1) - which is a day of mourning for him."

The flag of Kosovo found itself at the church in Paris among the symbols of 86 states and 11 international organizations.

Speaking for TV Prva earlier on Monday, Dacic said:

"We cannot stop it. They put the flags of other defeated sides there as well. I generally think that this is a scandal because there are no parades to celebrate victories where the defeated are present too. I do not know how Thaci accepted it because it's a day of mourning (for them). They lost, were on the wrong side (in WW1). They will fight against them again."

Kosovo is Serbia's southern province where ethnic Albanians in 2008 unilaterally declared independence - recognized by France and other leading Western powers, but rejected by Serbia as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

List of invitees

The management of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris said on Monday that the flag of Kosovo was displayed in front of it based on a list of those invited to next Sunday’s commemoration to mark the end of World War 1, Beta said, citing AFP.

An unnamed Notre-Dame spokesperson said the decision was taken based on a list of officials invited by the French government.

"Notre-Dame takes no stand and is not involved in diplomacy," the spokesperson said.

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