Sirens have rung out in Belgrade to mark the 10th anniversary of the start of NATO’s bombing of Serbia. Ceremonies have been held to remember the victims of the Western military campaign to drive Serb forces out of Kosovo.
Belgrade rejects the territory’s self-declared independence. Serbia’s Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic maintains the bombing campaign was “illegal, going against international law”. He said:“The bombing has caused far-reaching consequences for Serbia, the region, and for political relations in the world. Serbia can not forget those tragic days.” In Kosovo, ethnic Albanians describe NATO as their rescuer, who prevented further atrocities by Serb troops. Belgrade retaliated with force when the Kosovo Liberation Army launched a rebellion in the late 1990s. Some 800,000 Albanians fled or were expelled. Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said: “I must say that I feel good because ten years ago this place was full of Serb army, police, paramilitaries and Serb killers. But today we have the symbols of the state of Kosovo and it will remain like this forever.” Ten years after the conflict and the majority of displaced Albanians have returned home, with their leaders vowing to establish a stable and peaceful nation.