Serb President to lay wreaths at Croat mass grave

Last Updated: Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 20:23

Vukovar (Croatia): Serbia`s President on Thursday
became his country`s first leader to visit the site of a Serb
bombardment that levelled the Croatian town of Vukovar, left
hundreds dead and forced even more to flee their homes during
the region`s 1991 ethnic war.

Boris Tadic is also expected to lay a wreath at a mass
grave at Ovcara, a pig farm where the bodies of more than 200
Croats were dumped after Serb soldiers dragged them out of a
local hospital and executed them -- a massacre that remains a
painful symbol for Croats of Serb wartime brutality.
Tadic and his Croatian counterpart, Ivo Josipovic, will
also lay wreaths for 18 Serbs killed by Croats in a nearby
village.

The visits are the strongest condemnation yet of wartime
crimes, offering a symbolic step of reconciliation between the
two nations after years of mutual accusations over atrocities.

Serbia backed Croatian Serbs when they rebelled against
the country`s independence from Yugoslavia, which triggered
the war. The rebels seized a third of the country. More than
10,000 people were killed and entire communities expelled.

Four years later, Zagreb took back the territory in a
blitz offensive, followed by a period of killings and purges
of Serbs by Croatians.

The two Balkan neighbors have since largely patched up
relations, but tensions persist and each nation still sees
itself as the chief victim of the war. They have sued each
other for genocide before The Hague-based World Court and
nearly 2,400 people remain missing.

Josipovic and Tadic, who belong to a younger generation
of politicians not involved in the war, have each made steps
to reconciliation.
PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 20:23

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