Czech President Milos Zeman on Tuesday, during talks with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, who is on a visit to the Czech Republic, apologized for the bombing of Yugoslavia, which NATO carried out in 1999. This was announced on Twitter by the press secretary of the Czech leader Jiri Ovchacek.
“President of the Republic Milos Zeman, in the presence of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, publicly apologized for the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999,” Ovcacek said. He added that Zeman ” personally asked the Serbian people for forgiveness.”
The Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999, and the bombing of Yugoslavia by the alliance forces was carried out from March 24 to June 10, 1999. Zeman, then the Czech Prime Minister, strongly protested against the actions of NATO, emphasizing the historical and cultural closeness of the peoples of the Czech Republic and Yugoslavia. The authorities of the republic refused, in particular, to land on the national territory of the alliance aircraft that participated in the operation against Yugoslavia.
Zeman, after talks with Vucic, told reporters: “We were desperately looking for at least one more [NATO] country that would join us and oppose [the bombing of Yugoslavia], but we were left alone.” Nevertheless, according to the head of the Prague Castle, the republic should have been more determined to stop the bombing.
During the talks, the Czech and Serbian presidents reviewed the prospects for bilateral interstate cooperation in various fields, discussed current international issues and the progress of coronavirus vaccination in the two countries. Zeman and Vucic exchanged the highest state awards of their countries.
Vucic arrived in the Czech Republic on Monday evening and began the official part of the visit with talks with Zeman in Prague Castle. On Tuesday, he still has meetings with the leaders of both chambers of the Czech parliament, Milos Vystrcil and Radek Vondracek, and on Wednesday-with the Prime Minister of the republic, Andrej Babis. After that, he will leave the Czech Republic.