Serbian president: Joining NATO ‘too salty for our wounds’

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BELGRADE, Serbia – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic took part in an official commemoration for the 19th anniversary of the NATO intervention into Yugoslavia in Belgrade, Saturday.

Vucic spoke about the relationship with NATO, saying that Serbia wanted to have a partnership with the alliance despite the intervention.

“We want from the enemy to become friends, just do not make us forget that you killed us or blame our country for it,” added Vucic.

He claimed that Serbia would not join NATO, saying that “it would be too salty for our wounds.”

The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was a military operation against the Serbian people and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) during the Kosovo War. It was the first time that the organisation used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council. The air strikes lasted from March 24 to June 10 in 1999 and killed thousands of civilians and targeted civilian infrastructure.

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“What do we say today, we to whom have been dropped 420,000 missiles and nearly 40,000 cluster bombs and 1,300 cruise missiles? What do you mean to the fact that 2,500 people have been killed in exactly 2,500 air strikes?” Vucic said.

“You killed us a lot, you destroyed us a lot. It’s time to return something, and before that to recognise your own crime. And that you were Predraga, Gvozdena, Dragicu and all the other 2,500 people who we know the names of that killed for politics. Consciously and deliberately, for your criminal policy. Yes, we want a partnership with you, you that have committed terrible crimes to us. We want from the enemy to become friends, just do not make us forget that you killed us or to blame our country for it. We want a partnership, but we will not join NATO! It would be too salty for our wounds. We made that decision for ourselves!” Vucic continued.

“How will they finally take away forever [Kosovo] without bombs and cruise missiles, without blood, through once again ruined cities, as they thought they were able to finish in 2008? I do not know. But I know that this time they will have to think well and find a much better reason than they had 19 and 10 years ago. There are no more culprits in Serbia. There are no more of those that anyone can declare bad so that they can be killed. There is no more justification and no room for bloody irony,” he said.

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