Serbia’s President Boris Tadic has travelled to Croatia to personally apologise for atrocities committed by Serbs during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s.
He symbolically crossed a lake separating the two countries and was greeted by Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in Vukovar. The town was the scene of a hospital massacre by Serb forces which left 264 Croats dead.
“I came here today,” said the Serb leader, “to pay my respects to the victims, to bow to them and to apologise. To express our sympathy and to create the possibility for Serbs and Croats, Serbia and Croatia to open a new page of history.”
The visit is seen as part of attempts to build bridges between the former Yugoslav nations and boost Serbia’s prospects of joining the EU.
The country formally applied for membership last year. Croatia hopes to enter in 2013.
Leaders of both countries laid wreaths at the site of the mass grave where victims were buried. Serbs who died in Croatia during the war are also being honoured during the visit.