On Aug. 3, ahead of the anniversary of Croatia’s Operation Storm, Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic said that while the exodus conducted jointly by Croatian police and military was a horrific experience for Serbs, it also represents an immensely important stepping stone toward increasing national unity.
“It is a great event for our national unity. A tragic, horrible misfortune suffered by our people in Krajina, but it must [provide] pan-Serbian reconciliation and the anniversary of a tragedy which must lift us like a phoenix and take us to better days and a safer future,” Vucevic told Pink TV.
The minister recalled that a delegation from Serbia led by President Aleksandar Vucic is travelling to Republika Srpska on Aug. 3. The following day, the delegation will attend an observance of the Day of Remembrance for all Serbs killed or exiled in Croatia’s armed Operation Storm in 1995.
“These two days will pass in the spirit of Serb-to-Serb dialogue, in keeping with the agreement on blood ties and shared language, culture and religion. I believe this is completely natural and shouldn’t alarm anyone, although I’ve unfortunately been noticing barbs in the region’s media,” he said.
Asked to comment on Operation Storm, Vucevic stated that whether or not it was ethnic cleansing – “which leads to the legal definition of genocide,” he added – can best be determined by listening to the words of former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman. “All you need to do is hear what he said. You’ll see that the operation was aimed at eliminating, removing all Serbs from what was then Krajina, so as to, in [Tudjman’s] words, ‘once and for all resolve the Serb question,” Vucevic concluded.