At the commemoration of the end of the World War I in Paris, Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic was placed outside the official stand, according to the protocol approved by the French President.
The president of Serbia was placed outside the range of television cameras, which is an unacceptable failure since Serbia lost “1.2 million of its people” in the World War I, writes the renowned French daily Le Figaro in an article headlined, “The commemoration of Nov.11: Serbia unjustly humiliated.”
A senior member of the Elysee Palace protocol, in charge of seating officials at the honorary stand, told the Paris newspaper: “We have messed up.”
The representatives of the allied countries in the First World War – Russia, the US, Italy and Romania, but also the presidents of Bulgaria and Turkey, were placed around President Macron, as did the German chancellor, despite Germany and France fighting against each other in the WWI.
Although a tall man, Vucic was shoved as far back as possible and had a seat on the opposite platform, among lower-level ministers, diplomats and other officials – Le Figaro writes.
“Serbia, despite its sacrifices in both world wars, was humiliated by France on November 11th. We can only imagine how Aleksandar Vucic felt while watching the smiling Trump, Putin and Macron, the notorious Recep Tayyip Erdogan, or Hashim Thaci, the president of a country that Serbia does not recognize, standing across from him”, the article says.
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Although the French ambassador to Serbia, Frederic Mondoloni, apologized on behalf of Paris on Monday, there have been strong reactions in Belgrade too.
The Monument of Gratitude to France, which was only recently rebuilt, was vandalized, while demands have been heard to change the names of Belgrade streets that have been named after Paris and France, the daily states.
Le Figaro points out that on December 6th Emmanuel Macron will be coming to Belgrade. Vucic promised him a magnificent welcome and said that Serbia would not “mess up” when it comes to marking “the historic friendship between the two countries, which is based on the fact that both countries suffered bloodshed in the two world wars.”
The article, signed by Figaro’s deputy director Jean-Christophe Buisson, concludes that this time around, France is the one at risk to be humiliated.
This post is also available in: Italiano