Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Czech Republic's Zeman apologizes for NATO's 1999 bombardments of Yugoslavia - TASS

NATO's 1999 bombardments of Yugoslavia

The Czech Republic's President Milos Zeman on Tuesday apologized for NATO's bombardments of Yugoslavia in 1999. He made a statement to this effect during negotiations with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, who is in the Czech Republic on a visit, the Czech leader's spokesman Jiri Ovcacec tweeted on Tuesday.

"President Milos Zeman presented public apologies to President Aleksandar Vucic for the [NATO] bombardments of Yugoslavia in 1999," Ovcacek said. He stressed that Zeman "personally asked the Serbian people for forgiveness."

The Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999. The alliance's bombardments followed on March 24 to continue till June 10, 1999. Zeman, the then Czech prime minister, strongly protested against NATO's actions and stressed the historical and cultural proximity of the people of the Czech Republic and Yugoslavia. The Czech authorities then denied permission to NATO planes participating in the operation to land in the country's territory.

After the talks with Vucic on Tuesday Zeman told the media: "We were hopelessly looking for at least one more [NATO] country that would join us and come out against [the bombardments of Yugoslavia]. We remained all alone." Nevertheless, he is certain that his country should have pressed for an end to the bombardments with greater resolve.

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