Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic offered a landmark apology to Bosnia on Thursday for the 1992-95 war in which 200,000 died, most of them Muslims vastly outgunned by Belgrade-backed Bosnian Serbs.
He made the gesture eight years after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stopped the fighting and imposed the Dayton peace accord, and three years after the countries -- previously parts of Yugoslavia, which has since been renamed Serbia and Montenegro -- normalized relations.
Deposed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is on trial at the U.N. tribunal in The Hague for his alleged role in war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia's Kosovo province. His immediate successor, Vojislav Kostunica, visited Sarajevo during his tenure but did not apologize.
Marovic -- on his first official visit to the city where more than 10,000 people died during a 3 1/2-year siege by Serb forces -- said it was time for the neighbors to forgive.
"I want to use this opportunity to apologize for every evil or misfortune which anyone in Bosnia-Herzegovina suffered from anyone from Serbia and Montenegro," he said at a joint news conference with Dragan Covic, chairman of Bosnia's three-member presidency.
Covic said Marovic's apology was an "encouragement for the future of the two countries and for the region as a whole."