Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic urged “all citizens of Serbia to, starting today, begin to look to the future.”

Vucic spoke after the Hague Tribunal announced it had sentenced former military commander of Serbs in Bosnia Ratko Mladic to life in prison.

“Not to lower our heads in front of anyone, but to go to the future, to think about where and how we and our children will live, how we will preserve peace and stability in the region, how to renovate factories and create new ones. Not to drown in tears of the past, but to create a better common future from sweat,” said he.

Vucic also said he “did not directly follow the reading of the verdict” – but had “assumed what it would be.”

“Serbia has always respected the victims of other peoples, I’m not sure that others have shown that kind of respect toward our own. And that’s our job, not to have the right to forget, but to have an obligation to build a different future,” Vucic said.

The president said that the message for the entire region was that this was “neither a day for joy nor for sadness, but to think about what we want in the future.”

“My message to everyone is that it’s not time to step on the Serbs’ open wound, and I’m afraid that if the Serbs started to hate everything around them, that we would return to the past,” he said.

He also spoke about the international community.

“And the message about the lessons from others from around the world, who could not wait to hit Serbia on the head – curb your hypocrisy. If you don’t know how to think about the future, let us think about it,” Vucic said.

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