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Serbian Leader Urges Balkans To Put WWII In Past

Prague, 19 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Croatian President Stipe Mesic and his counterpart from Serbia and Montenegro, Svetozar Marovic, agreed in a telephone conversation on 18 May to work for an improvement in bilateral relations, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported.

The move follows Mesic's recent decision to cancel a planned visit to Serbia because of a ceremony at Ravna Gora the previous weekend honoring former Serbian royalist World War II General Draza Mihailovic, who led the Chetnik movement.

The Croatian government on 18 May condemned in a statement what it called attempts to rehabilitate the Chetniks. The statement added, however, that Zagreb does not want to harm relations with the Belgrade authorities, some of whom share Zagreb's view of the Chetniks.

In the Serbian capital, Serbian President Boris Tadic said that many unnamed "Balkan politicians" retain a mindset left over from World War II.

Tadic stressed that current relations in the region cannot be held hostage to issues left over from that conflict, suggesting that he disagrees with Mesic's decision to cancel his visit to Serbia.

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