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Russian FM Condemns Draft UN Srebrenica Resolution

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on May 28.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on May 28.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that the adoption of a draft UN resolution on the United Nations' failure to stop the Srebrenica massacre would lead to further "ethnic tensions" in the Balkans.

Lavrov made the remarks during a June 19 meeting with Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia-Herzegovina's Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia's second city.

Lavrov said the resolution, which is being drafted by Britain, "is totally of anti-Serb nature" and "incorrectly interprets those events."

Dodik said on June 17 that he would "demand" that traditional Serbian ally Russia use its UN Security Council veto power to prevent the adoption of the resolution, which is being prepared to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre, and "explain that it is a hot issue for us."

Milorad Dodik
Milorad Dodik

About 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed over three days in July 1995 in Srebrenica, an enclave declared a "safe area" under the protection of Dutch UN peacekeepers.

The massacre -- the worst atrocity in Europe since the Holocaust -- was carried out by forces led by Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic.

Britain has said it is drafting a UN Security Council resolution to reflect on the United Nations' failure to prevent the genocide.

"The exact content is still under discussion with partners, but we expect that it will commemorate the victims of the genocide at Srebrenica, and those who suffered on all sides in the war," a spokesperson at the British mission to the UN said on June 9.

The spokesperson said Britain hopes the move "will encourage further step towards reconciliation."

The draft resolution is expected to be discussed by the Security Council during the first week of July, ahead of July 11 commemoration ceremonies at the Srebrenica memorial in Bosnia.

Vucic Ready For Srebrenica Ceremonies

Serbia's prime minister, wartime nationalist hard-liner Aleksandar Vucic, said on June 19 that he would be prepared to attend the memorial ceremonies "if Bosniaks want it, if it is not too hard for them."

"I am ready to pay my respects to the Muslim and Bosniak victims of Srebrenica," Vucic told reporters. "I will go there regardless of the risks."

The UN tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague has ruled that the Srebrenica massacre constituted genocide, a term that Bosnian Serbs refuse to accept.

Dodik said he would accept a resolution to "proclaim Srebrenica as a place of genocide against the Serbs and the Muslims."

"Everything is done to promote a nontruth -- namely, that there was a genocide there -- while ignoring the Serb victims," Dodik said.

Dodik said 3,500 Serbs were killed in the Srebrenica region during the 1992-95 war.

Bosnian Serb lawmakers on June 10 rejected a resolution -- proposed by Muslim Bosniak parliamentarians -- that described the Srebrenica massacre as genocide, saying the motion was directed against Serbs and would destabilize the country.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, AFP, and Reuters
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