Presidents of Slovenia Borut Pahor, North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski and Montenegro Milo Djukanovic condemned the racist ideologies of racially pure nations and 'greater' states as root-causes of the Srebrenica genocide that took place 25 years ago in this east Bosnian town after it was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces.
In a video message sent marking the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, Slovenia's Pahor said the past cannot be changed, but we can change the future.
"Truth, not denial; respect, not hatred; open dialogue, not quarrels, are key for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Forgiveness and respect for diversity are crucial. Reconciliation is not an act of the past. It is a promise of coexistence and friendship that comes from shared pain. Instead of experiencing it individually, we empathise with the pain of the other and heal it together. This does not mean forgetting the bad things that have been done. This means that empathy and the desire for coexistence, friendship and peace are stronger than the turmoil of the past. This means that life is stronger than death," he said.
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said it has been twenty-five years since the Srebrenica genocide, the worst plight on the European soil after World War 2. This monstrous crime against the Bosniak nation raises the same questions today as it did then: Why, he asked.
"How is it possible that in this territory at the end of 20th century the monstrous thought about the extinction of a nation could be born," Djukanovic added.
"There is no single answer to that question. It would be most accurate to say that the Srebrenica genocide can be explained by the history that preceded it. The criminal ideas of that kind have the strongest foundation in the ideologies of 'greater' nations. Such ideologies did exist and unfortunately still do in our region," he warned.
According to him, they are the source of evil and plight, and the platform for the criminals to join around.
"As long as such ideologies live, as long as they have the followers who negate the crimes committed and call for new crimes, the danger of new plights will persist. The genocide in Srebrenica is a disgrace for all those who did not prevent it - both us and the international community. It is a testimony to the terrible reality of a bloody war. It is an eternal admonition and a reminder for all our nations that without the truth about the past there is no secure future," Djukanovic said.
He recalled that 11 years ago, Montenegro was the first country in the region to adopt the Declaration on accepting the European Parliament Resolution on Srebrenica.
"We are determined to contribute strongly through our activities to cherishing the memory of the Srebrenica victims and the victims of all crimes committed in the conflicts in the territory of former Yugoslavia. It is the only way to reach true reconciliation, which is the only guarantee for stability in the Western Balkans and for our common European future," Djukanovic concluded.
Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski noted that the Memorial Center and the Mothers of Srebrenica, through a clear message, testify of the collective past and are the conscience of our generation.
"They do not incite hatred, nor do they seek revenge, for it deepens injustice. They only seek truth and justice as a precondition for peace," he said.
"History, not only in the Balkans, teaches us that the idea of ethnically pure territories always leads to tragedy. And the recent Balkan wars have shown that genocide, after the Holocaust, can be repeated. If one generation does not speak, the next will forget, thus leaving a fertile ground for new conflicts," Pendarovski pointed out.