Montenegro to bury World War II German soldiers

AP News
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Posted: Aug 10, 2011 10:36 AM
Montenegro to bury World War II German soldiers

Germany and Montenegro sealed an agreement Wednesday on burying the remains of more than 400 German soldiers killed in the Balkan country during World War II.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the agreement on the construction of a German cemetery in Montenegro "represents a connection between facing the past and an orientation toward the future."

A site containing more than 400 Nazi soldiers killed between 1941 and 1945 in Montenegro in clashes with Yugoslav communist partisans was excavated by construction workers in 2007 in one of the suburbs of Montenegro's capital, Podgorica.

Since the discovery, the remains were kept at a Christian Catholic community house near Podgorica.

About 1,600 of the 2,000 German soldiers who are believed to have been killed in Montenegro during the war are still considered missing.

"The destiny of the 2,000 German soldiers fallen in Montenegro during the war reminds us of a pathway that Europe has traveled over the last decades," Westerwelle said at the signing ceremony.

Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen called the agreement a "a historic event" that improves relations between the two countries.

The ministers did not give details on the exact location of the future cemetery.

Rocen stressed that Westerwelle's visit _ part of a mini Balkan tour _ comes at a very important moment in Montenegro's European Union integration process as it strives to meet requirements for the opening of entry talks.

"If you continue down the path of decisive reform, Europe will stay on the path of Montenegro's European integration, without reserve," Westerwelle said.