Bosnian Serb leader: Serbs suffered the most in the 20th century

NEWS 05.08.2019 12:10
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Source: N1

While Croatia was preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the 1995 Operation Storm which allowed the country to reestablish control over its entire territory, the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency spoke at the commemoration for the operation’s Serb victims.

August 5 marks the 24th anniversary of the combined military and police operation that ended an armed rebellion of local Serbs in Croatia, helped restore Croatia’s sovereignty in occupied central and southern parts of the country and enabled the peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia in January 1998.

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The combined military and police operation Storm was launched on 4 August 1995 and it liberated areas in northern Dalmatia, Lika, Banovina and Kordun that had been controlled by Croatian Serb rebels for four years.

The operation was also a major factor that helped put an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and enabled the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region.

Croats and Serbs interpret Operation Storm differently. While Croatia sees it as a victory, Serbia sees it as a tragedy.

Dodik thanked Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic for initiating a commemoration event for the Serbs who were killed in the operation five years ago.

“The final act of Croatia’s efforts to remove the Serbs from Krajina (the northwestern area of Bosnia) and all of Croatia took place 24 years ago. Serbs are the people who have suffered the most throughout the past century. The previous century is a century of our plight,” Dodik said.

But he said that Serb have learned something out of it.

“That the freedom of our people exclusively depend on whether we have our state. Wherever we don’t have our state, we don’t have freedom,” he said.

He argued that Croatia’s military could have not beaten the Serb people in 1995 on its own.

“I have to say that they were supported by foreign forces, above all America, Britain and Germany. Without their support, they wouldn’t have the strength to do so,” he stressed.

Dodik emphasised that Serbs are a united people.

“We have had enough of others dividing us, saying that Serbs who live in Croatia are Croatian Serbs, while those in Bosnia are Bosnian Serbs. They never said that Croats who live in Serbia are Serbian Croats. That speaks of the divisions they wanted to impose on us,” he said.

Dodik criticised the international community, saying it created its policy on lies about Serbs.

“They said we killed 300,000 Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, they said, and they lied, that we raped 60,000 of their women. (They said) that, in Srebrenica, and they lied and keep lying persistently, that 8,700 people were killed, which is not true, while they ignore the fact that 3,500 Serbs were killed there,” he said.