BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia on Saturday asked Russia to veto a British U.N. Security Council resolution that would call the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys during the Bosnian war in Srebrenica genocide.
Serbian state TV said the country's pro-Russian President Tomislav Nikolic has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin "pleading" for a Russian "no" in the U.N. council when the resolution is expected to be tabled next week.
Western nations and Russia have been dueling in the U.N. over whether the killings should be called genocide or not. Russia, which has close historic and religious ties to Serbia, has circulated a rival draft resolution which doesn't mention either Srebrenica or genocide.
The British resolution was intended to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the July 1995 slaughter. U.N. courts have labeled it genocide.
Serbian officials say the resolution should include all victims of the Bosnian civil war that pitted Christian Orthodox Serbs against the Bosnian Muslims and Croat Catholics.
Nikolic's move also reflects political divisions in Serbia among those who seek closer ties with the European Union and his pro-Russian faction that want Serbia in the Kremlin orbit.
Serbia's prime minister Aleksandar Vucic, a former extreme nationalist who now declares himself as pro-EU, has said he is ready to attend memorial ceremonies marking the Srebrenica anniversary in Srebrenica — but also has refused to call it genocide.