04.08.2014

President Nikolic in Belgium at commemoration of WWI centenary

LIEGE - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has arrived in Liege, eastern Belgium, on Monday, where he is now attending the central event commemorating 100 years since the start of World War I on the Western front.

After the ceremony, the Serbian president, who went to Liege at the invitation of King Philippe of Belgium, will lay wreaths and flowers at the monument to King Albert I and the memorial and graves to the fallen Serbian soldiers at the Robermont cemetery.

King Philippe of Belgium is leading the ceremony in Liege that is bringing together French President Francois Hollande, his German counterpart Joachim Gauck and other heads of state and representatives of over 80 countries.

Extremely high security measures are in force in Liege, with the strong police presence because, as police officials note, some delegations required a high level of security.

The main ceremony in remembrance of the German invasion of Belgium is being held at the Allies' Memorial in Cointe (Liege).

After the ceremony, an international commemoration will be held on Monday evening in Mons on the border with France, where British troops set up the defenses, while London and Paris were doing their best to prevent a German advancement in late August.

A majority of world powers were involved in the Great War that lasted from 1914 to 1918, mobilizing over 60 million people, out of which 15 million lost their lives, and over 20 million suffered injuries.

The victory of the Allied forces, including Serbia, marked the break-up of four big empires- Austria-Hungary, the Russian, German and Ottoman empires and emergence of new states in central and eastern Europe.

Serbia paid its victory dearly- the country lost almost a third (over 28 percent) of its 4 million citizens, and over 40 percent of its male population.

Photo Tanjug Video, camera operator Davorin Pavlovic