UZICE - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has noted on Wednesday at a ceremony marking Armed Forces Day that, in the recent past, Serbia experienced a lot of suffering, caused even by those that were allies in the world wars, and he warned that the country must not allow to be dragged into turmoil ever again due to quarrels of others.
"They want to drag us into turmoil, but we already suffered a lot," Nikolic cautioned at the central ceremony in Uzice, western Serbia, held on the occasion of Armed Forces Day, April 23.
He noted that the perpetrators of the 1999 bombing of Serbia have recently admitted that they did it, without UN authorization, under the pretext of trying to prevent possible suffering of one people and potential exodus of civilians.
"They found an excuse for the (NATO) bombing of a sovereign state, a UN member, and the killing of its children and destruction of its resources that were created by its citizens, in prevention of potential suffering. They had better not try to invent any excuse, as there was none - or they had better admit what the real reason was - to create an Albanian state in the territory of Serbia," Nikolic said.
Describing this as a dangerous precedent and something that would be shameful even for barbarian peoples of the pre-Christian era, Nikolic said that "Serbia rightly expects to get back on its feet."
He said that big and heavily-armed states still demonstrate that they take different approaches to solving similar issues in the world.
"Neither do they ask us when they quarrel and put world peace in jeopardy, nor will they consult us when they make peace," Nikolic said.
"They want to drag us into sufferings, but we already endured suffering, inflicted even by our allies in the world wars. Today, our task is to give birth and live, and not to wage wars and die; never again because of quarrels of others," the Serbian president said.
He noted that, in World War II, Serbia was on the winning side, but was once again drawn into a state based on compromise (Yugoslavia) and forgiveness of the unforgivable (genocide that Croatia's Ustashe committed against Serbs). And after all that, people again experienced persecutions, insults, he added.
In World War I, Serbia was on the winning side, but it lost the healthiest, most capable and best people in armed conflicts, even though a Serbian soldier was respected both by the allies and the enemies, the president said.
Nikolic said that the WWI centenary is an opportunity to remember the heroic deeds and suffering of the people and army, "unmatched in recent history", and added that the tactics and doctrine of Serbian military leaders in that war are studied at military schools across the globe.
In modern history, Serbia has never waged wars of aggression, but only defensive wars. It has always been on the winning side and justice, he said.
Nikolic noted that the Serbian Armed Forces are very active in UN- and EU-led multinational operations, adding that through engagement in peace missions the country assists citizens in the parts of the world where human lives are in jeopardy.
The president said that, in accordance with the Constitution that guarantees freedom of belief, religious services were re-introduced in the Serbian Armed Forces.
"It is my honour that the reputation of our army is at an extraordinary level, that it commands such respect, which has been increasingly proven by the presence of the Serbian Armed Forces in international peace missions in the last two years," President Nikolic said.