“I am down on my knees because of it. Here, I am down on my knees. And I am asking for forgiveness for Serbia for the crime that was committed in Srebrenica. I apologise for the crimes committed by any individual on behalf of our state and our people,” he said, according the channel. But he didn’t consider proven that what happened in Srebrenica with the execution of 8.000 muslim Bosnian males was a genocide.
This statement is a big change for Mr. Nikolić, who was very close to Milošević and after that was in the ultra nationalist Serbian Radical Party, the organization of Vojislav Šešelj, accused as a war criminal at the Hague for his role in Bosnia and Croatia during the armed conflict. Finally he founded the Serbian Progressive Party and won the elections in 2012.
The statement is also a complete turn round from the electoral campaign a year ago when the now president was looking for the votes of the nationalists among others.
But now there is one big goal in the horizon that is changing everything and that is the negotiations to enter the EU. For that Serbia’s officials have to prove to be a peaceful neighbor to other possible members like Croatia, already in an advanced state of integration, and to other countries in the Region like Bosnia.
This approach made possible also the recent agreement with Kosovo, that doesn’t recognize the territory as a separate State from Serbia but wants to “normalize relations” between the two and “don’t block each other’s bids to join international organizations”. A very complicated situation, if Kosovo, recognized as an independent State by several Countries, including the US and most of the EU members, want to enter de EU separated from Serbia, that is doing all this precisely to enter the EU and still consider Kosovo part of its territory in its Constitution. For the Serbian nationalists like Mr. Nikolić, the now mostly Albanian populated Kosovo is the historic cradle of the Serbian Nation and for that, impossible to renounce to it. And the agreement doesn’t resolve in a definitive form the problem of the division between the minority Serbian Northern Kosovo’s area from the rest of the territory populated by Albanians.
Nothing about the Region is easy to understand from abroad. This lasts news are steps towards the integration in the EU, steps in the right side, I hope, but a lot of knots remain entangled and this is a reason to still watching carefully to what is happening over there.