On the eve of celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic’s NATO membership, the country’s President Milos Zeman said the Alliance’s bombing of the then Yugoslavia in 1999 was a mistake and that he did not gladly look back at the time, BETA news agency reported.
Zeman said the Czech Republic was the newest NATO member who joined the Alliance only three weeks before the decision on the bombing of Yugoslavia was made, and that “it would not have been normal for a newcomer to veto the move as the only country to do so.”
“From a certain distance, I can tell you that was the mistake and to a certain extent an act of the power-based arrogance. The Czech Republic was the last member who voted for the bombing, and I unsympathetically remember that process of decision-making,” Zeman told the CTK news agency in an interview.
The country’s Prime Minister at the time, Zeman gave the green light for the NATO bombing, i.e., opened the sky for NATO planes, but he said that before the decision was made he had been looking for support among other countries for a diplomatic solution.
Though he voted in favor of the bombing, Zeman warned that the intervention, aiming at saving the Kosovo Albanians from the humanitarian catastrophe as it was called, would be absurd if the bombing would lead to the secession of Kosovo.
NATO bombed Yugoslavia composed of Serbia and Montenegro from March 24 to June 10, 1999.