Thu, 23 May 2019

The French ambassador in Belgrade has offered an apology to Serbia after President Aleksandar Vucic expressed frustration about the way he was treated during World War I commemorations in Paris.

Ambassador Frederic Mondoloni issued the apology on November 12, a day after Vucic joined dozens of world leaders in Paris to attend a ceremony commemorating the centenary of the armistice that ended the war in 1918.

SEE ALSO: Reports: Serbia President Frustrated By WWI Remembrance Treatment

At the November 11 gathering, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci was placed behind the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and the United States, while Vucic was in a separate stand on the opposite side.

'I couldn't believe what I was seeing before me, knowing the sacrifice that the Serb people made in World War I,' Serbian media quoted Vucic as saying following the event.

Historians say that Serbia suffered more losses as a proportion of its population in the war than any other country embroiled in the conflict.

Tensions remain high between Pristina and Belgrade, 10 years after Kosovo's ethnic Albanians unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.

Mondoloni told Prva TV that the seating arrangement during the Paris ceremony was a "regrettable mistake" and asked Vucic and the Serb people to accept an apology.'

'Serbia lost almost a third of its population in the [war] -- 62 percent of all men. I don't know what happened [in Paris]," he also said.

Vucic later thanked Mondoloni in a tweet for "his wonderful words and the respect he showed for Serbian casualties."

With reporting by B92 RFE/RL's Balkan Service

RFE/RL's Balkan Service promotes the values of democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression in a region where genuine media freedom remains elusive and where many media outlets remain divided along ethnic lines. Subscribe via RSS

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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