BELGRADE – The Prince of Wales said in a speech he gave at the Serbian parliament late on Thursday that he could see that extraordinary progress had been made in the Balkans and that peace and stability had returned there after the horrific conflicts of the 1990s.

Prince Charles said that there could be few places on Earth where one felt the weight of history more than in the Balkans and that no-one should forget or ignore that history, but it was “vital not to become prisoners of it.”

The heir to the British throne said that “only reconciliation offers the assurance that our children and grandchildren will not suffer the same agonies as our generation.

“I can only assure you that Britain is with you as you build your common future. Peace and stability in this region will mean that all of us, whether in the Balkans, in the United Kingdom, or elsewhere, can enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. Together, we can build this future,” Prince Charles said.

He started his speech in Serbian, which was greeted with applause by the guests.

The speech, expected to be Prince Charles’ only live speech during his and his wife Camilla’s tour of the Balkan region, was followed by prolonged applause and the national anthems of the two countries.