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Serbia donates $5.4 million to Srebrenica, Bosnian town scarred by massacre of 8,000 Muslims


SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Serbia's prime minister said Wednesday his country is donating 5 million euros ($5.4 million) to rejuvenate the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, where Serbs slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys during the war 20 years ago.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic attended a regional investment conference in the eastern town and said that the first 2 million euros ($2.15 million) will arrive by Monday.

"We want Srebrenica to become a bridge of cooperation," he said.

"Nobody can return the brothers to their sisters, the children to their mothers but what we can do is to look into the future, make it different, take care of those 20,000 people who still live here," he added.

The move is yet another attempt to atone for war atrocities that have kept the region unstable.

In July, Vucic had to flee events in Srebrenica marking the killings' 20th anniversary when angry mourners pelted him and his entourage with rocks during the funeral of 136 massacre victims found in nearby mass graves.

He revisited the cemetery Wednesday to lay flowers and take a walk among the thousands of white grave stones.

Bosnia's prime minister, Denis Zvizdic said the two countries want to open a new chapter in their relations.

"We did not even expect so much money," said a very excited Srebrenica mayor, Camil Durakovic, adding the money will "change the lives of the residents of Srebrenica."

Bosnian Serbs, backed by Serbia, expelled the entire Muslim population and executed 8,000 Muslim men and boys when they overran the town by the end of the 1992-95 war which became known as the worst massacre in Europe since the Nazi era.

Since then, just a few hundred Muslims — mainly women — returned to the town where the unemployment rate is 60 percent and relations between the Muslims and the Serbs still are burdened by the past.

Reviving the town's economy and rebuilding the infrastructure should not only ease the lives of those who now live there but attract others to move back to Srebrenica, Vucic said.

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