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U.S., EU Welcome Srebrenica Declaration As 'Important Step'


The Serbian NGO Women in Black demands the parliament adopt the declaration on Srebrenica last year.
The European Union and the United States have welcomed a Serbian declaration apologizing for the Srebrenica massacre, with the EU calling it an "important step forward."

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner said the declaration was a "positive step toward reconciliation, addressing the crimes of the past, fostering regional relations, and promoting stability in the region."

The Serbian parliament today voted to approve the resolution, which condemned the July 1995 massacre by Bosnian Serb forces of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

The resolution also expressed support for the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general accused of genocide by the United Nation's war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Mladic is believed to be in hiding in Serbia.

"The adoption of this declaration is our own, Serbian decision," said President Boris Tadic. "This is a decision made by the Serbian parliament, political parties, and representatives of the people. This is a decision made by the Serbian people, by the fact that it was adopted in parliament, and all speculations that Serbia has adopted it under pressure may be automatically dismissed."

The resolution, however, stops short of calling the massacre "genocide."

The resolution was backed by Serbia's pro-Western ruling coalition, which argued the measure would help regional reconciliation and Serbia's effort to become an EU member.

Serbian nationalists rejected it as "shameful" and "unjust."

compiled from agency reports