Pupovac: Respect for war victims and peace as way of living always go together

NEWS 17.11.202019:39
Davor Javorovic/PIXSELL (ilustracija)

Paying respects to war victims and peace as a way of living always go together and anyone trying to separate the two is "seriously and unchristianly wrong," Serb National Council president Milorad Pupovac said in Vukovar on Tuesday.

Pupovac said that people opposed to commemorating Serb victims of the 1991-1995 war were directly turning Serbs away from accepting commemorative events in Vukovar as their own.

“I am here with the deputy prime minister and until recently president of the SNV, Boris Milosevic, to show that regardless of when and where we lay wreaths we do not divide the victims, we do not separate them,” Pupovac said, referring to all the victims as “our own.”

He said that with this view the SNV wanted to contribute to “commemorative practices in Vukovar not becoming ones that divide, pit one against the other and continue the war with remembrance policies.”

He said that the announcement that state secretary Zvonko Milas would attend the ceremony of laying wreaths on the Danube river was a misunderstanding. “We made a mistake. I made a mistake. It was a misunderstanding,” he said.

Asked by the press if he would attend the remembrance ceremony in Skabrnja on Wednesday, Pupovac said that it had been his wish for many years to be there, but he did not know if he would be welcome.

Speaking of the Serbs in Vukovar and their attitude towards Remembrance Day, he said: “What I am hoping to achieve is that Croats and Serbs are not divided, either in Croatia or in Vukovar. Some people in this town and this country do not want this to happen.”

Milosevic said that his visit to Vukovar today and tomorrow was a mark of his respect for all the residents and all the people killed in the Vukovar area during the war.

“It is important that we continue the policy that we have started with this government and to promote an atmosphere of reconciliation and dialogue,” Milosevic said, adding that Vukovar lacked dialogue, there had been no progress in interethnic relations and the conditions had not yet been met for the use of Cyrillic script.

Serbian envoy kneels before Ovcara memorial

The Serbian president’s special envoy Veran Matic said he had come to Vukovar to pay respects to the victims, adding that he would be in the Remembrance Procession on Wednesday.

“I think it is very important for us to show respect for the victims and solidarity with the victims’ families,” Matic said, stressing the importance of shedding light on the whereabouts of missing persons. He said that “joint commemorations like this can only help” in locating the missing persons.

“I very much regret what happened to this town and its residents during the war years,” Matic said. After laying a wreath at the Ovcara war memorial, he knelt and prayed.

The SNV delegation included Pupovac, Milosevic, Matic and a member of the NGO “Against Forgetting”, Radojka Mrsic. They also threw a wreath into the Danube and lit candles in St Nicholas’ Church in central Vukovar.