Serbian president’s praise of Milosevic triggers outrage

Aleksandar Vucic said, ‘Slobodan Milosevic, above, was a great Serbian leader whose intentions were certainly for the best, but our results were very poor.’ (AFP)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Serbian president’s praise of Milosevic triggers outrage

  • Aleksandar Vucic called for peace and reconciliation with Kosovo Albanians, but also praised former Serbian leader Milosevic
  • He also criticized the former Serbian pro-Western officials for handing over Milosevic and his generals to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague

BELGRADE, Serbia: The Serbian president’s praise of Slobodan Milosevic as a “great” leader triggered outrage on Monday in neighboring states where his nationalist policies in the 1990s caused bloodshed and destruction.
In his keynote speech while visiting Kosovo’s Serbs on Sunday, Aleksandar Vucic called for peace and reconciliation with Kosovo Albanians, but also praised former Serbian leader Milosevic.
“Milosevic was a great Serbian leader whose intentions were certainly for the best, but our results were very poor,” Vucic said. “Not because he wanted that, but because our wishes were unrealistic, while we neglected and underestimated the interests and aspirations of other nations.”
He also criticized the former Serbian pro-Western officials for handing over Milosevic and his generals to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial at the tribunal, is widely considered the most responsible politician in former Yugoslavia for the bloody breakup of the federation and the death of at least 120,000 people in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.
Vucic, an ultranationalist during the wars in the Balkans, was Milosevic’s information minister in 1999.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said Monday that praising Milosevic was “a provocation.”
“We heard words of peace, understanding and good neighborly relations,” Thaci said. “But we also heard praise for Milosevic and his generals. The two things don’t go together.”
Kosovo was a Serbian province when Milosevic’s crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in 1998-99 led to the deaths of more than 10,000 people.
The conflict ended with NATO intervention, which forced Serbia to pull out of the province. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a move that Serbia doesn’t recognize. Serbia and Kosovo must mend ties to advance toward European Union membership.
The two sides have been engaged in EU-mediated negotiations, with Vucic and Thaci leading the delegations.
Reacting to Vucic’s praise of Milosevic, European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said Monday that reconciliation in the Western Balkans will only be possible if policies of the past that brought decades of misery and suffering to the region are rejected and overcome.
“All partners in the region have a clear European perspective and therefore are required to respect these principles,” she said.


India building collapse kills five

Updated 46 min 1 sec ago
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India building collapse kills five

  • Rescuers combing the wreckage with sniffer dogs in Delhi’s north pulled out at least a dozen people who were trapped beneath the rubble
  • Millions live in dilapidated old buildings, many of which are susceptible to collapse during rain

NEW DELHI: Five people were killed Wednesday when an apartment block collapsed in New Delhi, crushing residents beneath mountains of concrete, in the latest building accident to hit India.
Rescuers combing the wreckage with sniffer dogs in Delhi’s north pulled out at least a dozen people who were trapped beneath the rubble.
“We can confirm the deaths of five people. Rescue teams at the site are still clearing the debris,” local police official Sarat Chandra Nirmal said.
An AFP photographer at the scene saw the bodies of two children being pulled from the rubble.
The block was located in a cramped, middle-class neighborhood where many buildings share common walls.
The Press Trust of India quoted an unnamed local official saying the building was 20-years-old and structurally unsound.
Other local media reported the fourth floor of the block was illegally constructed.
It is just the latest in a string of deadly building collapses in India.
In July, a six-story building collapsed on the outskirts of Delhi, killing nine.
Last year, a wall collapsed onto guests celebrating a wedding in Rajasthan state, killing two dozen people.
A massive influx of people to cities in search of jobs and a shortage of cheap housing has fueled the construction of illegal buildings across India. Many are built with sub-standard materials.
Millions also live in dilapidated old buildings, many of which are susceptible to collapse during rain.