Monday, November 12, 2012

Nikolic pays homage to fallen Serbian soldiers

THESSALONIKI - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic paid homage to the fallen Serbian soldiers in World War I during a commemoration of Armistice Day at the Zeytinlik military cemetery in Thessaloniki Saturday. More than 20,000 allied forces soldiers who died in the battles on the Salonika front during World War I lie buried at Zeytinlik, among them 8,500 Serbs. 

 After the playing of the Greek and Serbian national anthems and a minute of silence, the Serbian president laid a wreath at the memorial that reads: “To our glory crowned predecessors” and then lighted candles. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic, Serbian Minister of Culture Bratislav Petkovic, Serbian president's Adviser Marko Djuric, Serbian Ambassador to Greece Dragan Zupanjevac and representative of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tanos Kotsionis, also paid their respects. 

Nikolic wrote in the memorial visitors' book: “Always like the first time. Proudly, honorably, valorously, in a true Serbian manner. We will remember it forever. We will pass it over to our children and their children.” During the ceremony, the members of the delegation wore a lapel badge with a Natalie's Ramonda flower and a background in the colors of the Albanian Retreat medal, which was established to commemorate the withdrawal of the Serbian army through Albania in the most difficult moments of World War I. 

 Natalie's Ramonda (Ramonda Nathaliae) is a plant that grows in Serbia, mostly in the east of the country, and on the Nidze mountain near Bitola in Macedonia, on whose Kajmakchalan peak Serbs suffered a loss of 5,000 soldiers before pulling off their first World War I victory by defeating Bulgarians. The flower was named after Serbian queen Natalija Obrenovic, and is also known as the phoenix flower, which points to the resurrection of the Serbian state from the ashes of the World War I. ----------------------------------------------------- 

Greece promises full support to Serbia on EU path 
 Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in Thessaloniki Saturday that Greece had pledged to fully support Serbia on its EU path, stressing that the Greek government was not set down any preconditions for the support. After two days of meetings with Greek senior officials, Nikolic told reporters that the two countries had no outstanding issues in between them and that they the talks had touched on all aspects of future cooperation.

 “We (Serbia) are more than satisfied about the results of the visit. We were among our friends and brothers, people who fully understand the distress and difficulties Serbia is facing, who support us completely and who will be together with us in achieving our major objectives, including EU membership,” Nikolic said. 

 The talks in Athens, he said, confirmed that the relationship between Serbia and Greece is one of full understanding and cooperation, downright clear in all respects, almost as if the two are one single country. He added that Serbia was ready to mediate in resolving the outstanding issues between Greece and Macedonia, if there was such an initiative. “You can imagine how it would all look like if we worked together. It would be the mainstay of the Balkans, and perhaps of the entire Europe,” Nikolic said, stressing that Serbia “can be a bridge between East and West, North and South.”

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