Two ambassadors remained in Belgrade while the bombs were falling on Serbia in 1999: This is a confession of one of them
He says he lived under bombs, like all the citizens of Belgrade, respecting the instructions of the authorities: darkened windows, not leaving the embassy ...
Former Italian ambassador to Serbia Ricardo Sesa - served in our capital during the 1999 bombing - he said that Belgrade will always remain in his heart. In an interview with "Novosti", he said that Belgrade was his first ambassadorial post to which he was sent on July 4, 1997. Only he and Greek Ambassador Panagiotis Vlassopoulos stayed in Belgrade during the bombing of Western countries.
- Italy has always looked at Yugoslavia with great care and it was considered a truly friendly country, and the Adriatic Sea not as a border, but as a route connecting Italy with the Balkan region, where Belgrade has always been of primary importance - he said.
When the bombing began in 1999, according to an order from Rome on evacuation, wife Stefania left Belgrade with the last plane of "Alitalia", after which the airport was closed.
- My government has decided it's appropriate for me to stay, the embassy remains open, and I have expressed my willingness to do so. I was invited to consultations, and after a short time, I returned to Belgrade. The government wanted to have an insight into the situation, and I declared that I was available. They told me in Rome: "You're going to Belgrade, but at any time if you realize that your security is being endangered, let us know and you're coming back - he said.
He says he lived under bombs, like all the citizens of Belgrade, respecting the instructions of the authorities: darkened windows, not leaving the embassy...
- We lived with a certain disturbance and fear, you can say that. Remember that the first bombings were very close to our embassy and we felt them very clearly, after that we got used to them, just like Serbian people did. One of the things that truly impressed me is the vitality of the Serbian people which started their everyday life, all time until the sirens went off. The Serbian people have exceptional pride, vitality, I watched lines of people in front of the embassy, standing all night to get a visa to go abroad, and sometimes the Yugoslav passport was more than prestigious - standing and waiting with pride - he said.
Ambassador Ricardo Sesa loves people, he is accustomed to being among them, to hang out with them. In the first few days of the bombing, his security advised him not to leave the embassy, because they explained to him that there is a possibility of "hostile attitudes and repulsion towards diplomatic personnel". So he lived in the embassy for some time, and it then became too tight, he felt like a prisoner.
- I reached a decision to go out one day, I was curious what can happen. They drove me with a car to the Republic Square, I wanted to go out and to go on foot from there, and my security was more than worried. Nothing bad happened. On the contrary, people recognized me in some moments, they approached to shake my hand and to express happiness, because the Italian ambassador remained there with them, under bombs. I will never forget that - Sesa remembers.
He said that he visited regularly "the fair of antiquities" with his wife before those tragic days.
- It reopened close to the embassy after the bombing and it seemed to me that it wouldn't be fair if I didn't drop by, and they already knew me, I had to like we did before the bombing. My security went on earlier to scout the field for possible dangers, that is their job and I said to them - there is nothing dangerous there.
I am arriving, in the company of my associates, that was a place when you had to walk down a few steps, and someone from above saw me coming, and the applause starts! Even now I get chills when I remember that moment, and when I came down a few of the people who displayed their items approached to me, saying "We see that you arrive with your security - remember that we in Belgrade are your security - Sesa said.
This man took down the "invisible one":
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