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Serbian PM pledges millions to Srebrenica

November 11, 2015

Serbian Prime Minister Vucic has laid flowers at the memorial dedicated to the wartime massacre in Srebrenica, and promised investments to the Bosnian city. During his previous visit, he was chased away by an angry mob.

Aleksandar Vucic Premierminster Serbien Gedenkfeier Srebrenica
Image: Reuters/D. Ruvi

The authorities in Belgrade will invest 5 million euros ($5.4 million) to improve life for the people in Srebrenica, Vucic said on Wednesday.

The city saw the worst wartime massacre in Europe since World War II when ethnic Serb forces killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995.

"Nobody can bring sisters their brothers back, or to mothers their sons and children," the Serbian prime minister said in his opening speech at the two-day investment conference in the Bosnian town.

"But we can look to the future, take care of people living in Srebrenica, so there will be more of them in the future and so they could live in peace," he added.

Vucic propagated ultra-nationalism during the bloody wars across former Yugoslavia in the 1990's. However, the Serbian politician made a sharp turn in his rhetoric several years ago, and is now urging better relations with the neighbors and an EU membership for Serbia.

The money from Serbia should finance rebuilding streets and schools, as well as improving the town's health care.

"All citizens of Srebrenica, whether they are Bosniaks or Serbs, will be able to count on more work and a better life," he said, adding that the first two million euros would be transferred to the city authorities on Monday.

Wounds of war

Vucic was pelted with stones and bottles by an angry crowd while visiting Srebrenica four months ago for a ceremony marking 20 years since the massacre.

The police were out in force on Wednesday, with helicopters hovering overhead during his visit.

The head of Serbia's government was accompanied by Bosnia's top government officials, as well as the Muslim mayor of Srebrenica, Camil Durakovic.

Durakovic thanked the Serbian government for the donation, saying his administration "did not expect such major funds, which are big for our small community."

There are only 7,000 people left in the city, which had a population of 37,000 before the war.

dj/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, FENA, Beta)