Europe

Srebrenica anniversary: Bosnia condemns attack on Serbia PM

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Media captionSerbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said his glasses were broken in the attack

Bosnia's presidency has condemned an attack on Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

It said Mr Vucic had visited the town "in a spirit of reconciliation, intending to pay respect".

Mr Vucic was forced to flee the ceremony after being booed and heckled and then pelted with stones.

About 8,000 Muslims were killed in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces during the Bosnian war.

Speaking in Belgrade after the attack, Mr Vucic said his glasses had been smashed in the incident but he was otherwise unhurt.

He said the attackers had been organised, but stressed he would continue his policy of rapprochement.

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Image caption A banner at the ceremony carried a quote attributed to Mr Vucic saying: "For each Serb killed, we will kill 100 Muslims"

"I am sorry that some people didn't understand my sincere desire to build friendship between Serbs and Bosniaks," he said.

"My hand remains outstretched to the Bosniak people."

Mr Vucic is a former radical Serb nationalist who served under Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in the late 1990s.

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Media captionWhat happened at Srebrenica? Explained in under two minutes

He is now a pro-Western politician seeking to steer Serbia into the European Union. His government managed to secure support from its ally Russia on Wednesday to veto a UN resolution calling the events in Srebrenica a genocide.

Tens of thousands of people had gathered for the commemoration on Saturday in the eastern Bosnian town.

Witnesses said Mr Vucic had just laid a flower at a monument when parts of the crowd began chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God Is Great) and throwing stones.

Shielded by umbrellas, Mr Vucic and his bodyguards fled the ceremony.

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Image caption Former US President Bill Clinton signed a book of condolence at the ceremony

In its statement, Bosnia's presidency - with members from each of the country's three main communities, Bosniak, Croat and Serb - apologised to "all foreign delegations" for the incident.

The Mayor of Srebrenica, Camil Durakovic, said the attack was "the work of sick minds who abused this solemn event".

Serbia, meanwhile, condemned the attack as an "assassination attempt".

Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said it was an attack "against all of Serbia and its policy of peace and regional co-operation".

A funeral service for more than 100 victims whose remains were recently identified using DNA analysis was also held on Saturday.

Attending the ceremonies, Bill Clinton, the US president at the time, apologised that it had taken so long to end the war, adding: "I never want to see another killing field like this."

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