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Serbia condemns 1995 Srebrenica massacre

BELGRADE, Serbia - Serbia's parliament approved a declaration yesterday condemning the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, in a bid to distance the country from past warmongering under the late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

The declaration passed with a slim majority of 127 votes in the 250-seat parliament after a daylong debate that underscored persisting divisions over Serbia's role in the 1990s conflict.

"The National Assembly of Serbia harshly condemns the crime committed against the Bosnian residents of Srebrenica in July 1995 . . . expressing condolences and apology to the victims' families because not all was done to prevent this tragedy," the declaration says.

The declaration was put forward by the ruling pro-Western coalition, which said it would promote regional reconciliation and Serbia's effort to become a member of the European Union.

EU officials have told Serbia its leaders must break away from Milosevic's policies if they want to move closer to the bloc.

Nationalist lawmakers rejected the Srebrenica declaration as "shameful" and "unjust." They insisted fewer people were killed and denied Western accusations of mass executions.

In Sarajevo, Bosnian Muslim survivors also said they were unhappy with the declaration because it failed to call the killings a genocide, in accordance with rulings by international courts.


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