11:20 GMT +310 December 2018
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    Flames from an explosion light up the Belgrade skyline near a power station after NATO cruise missiles and warplanes attacked Yugoslavia late Wednesday, March 24, 1999

    Syria Strikes Remind Serbian President of NATO's Bombing of Yugoslavia

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    The president said that the US, French and British attack on Syria on April 14 was a reminder that a policy of military neutrality was the only correct course for Belgrade to take.

    "For all of us who are over 18 or 19 years old, this campaign is a painful reminder of the period we went through," Aleksandar Vucic said, speaking to Serbian television on Saturday.

    The US led-tripartite attack made several things very clear, Vucic said. "The policy of military neutrality is the only policy which we can conduct, because being on the side of the strong does not necessarily mean that you are on the side of morality and truth," he noted.

    According to Vucic, the situation in the world today now resembles the one which the world faced ahead of the First World War. "There is a struggle for resources, for oil, copper, aluminum – a clash of interests. This atmosphere reminds me of the one which existed ahead of the First World War; although I will not say that something like this can happen, since the forces and military might of countries today are frightfully immense."

    Serbia's goal must now be to quietly work to improve its economy, but also to strengthen its military "to be able of defend ourselves," the president said.

    Yugoslavia was subjected to a 78-day NATO bombing campaign between March 23 and June 10, 1999. The bombing led to upwards of 5,700 civilian deaths, and contaminated areas of the country with radiation from NATO's depleted uranium (DU) rounds.

    The US, France and the UK launched 103 air and warship-launched cruise missiles into Syria on Saturday morning, aiming at targets in Damascus and Homs province. According to the Russian military, Syrian air defenses intercepted 69% of the missiles.

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    bombing, NATO, Aleksandar Vucic, United States, Syria, Serbia
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