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Foibe and exodus were acts of ethnic cleansing: Italy's FM

(ANSA) - ROME, FEB 9 - "The painful affair of the foibe, and the subsequent forced Istrian and Giuliano-Dalmatian exodus, were acts of ethnic cleansing," said Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani at the ceremony at the Quirinale for the Day of Remembrance. "In those months," Tajani argues, "at the end of a tragic conflict, the most deterrent nationalism and totalitarian ideology merged to dig a bloody furrow among the populations of the eastern shore of the Adriatic. Populations that had coexisted for centuries in a complex but fruitful balance for those lands and people. Unfortunately, the foibe is not the only act of ethnic cleansing that has plagued the Balkans in the 20th century. Indeed, they can be said to have anticipated other tragedies, which, half a century later, would mark the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. But of course, these events concern us most closely, touching us most painfully." For this reason, the minister remarked, "the Berlusconi government in 2004 decided to establish the day of remembrance on February 10, as a dutiful tribute to the victims and as a warning so that similar tragedies are not repeated." Remembering "is a moral, civil and political duty," the minister warned, "in no way does it mean reopening old conflicts. Those responsible for those massacres were persons long gone, framed within an armed force, the expression of a now-dissolved state - the Yugoslav People's Liberation Army, led by Marshal Tito - and were inspired by an ideology defeated by history. The states that have taken the place of the former Yugoslavia bear no responsibility for the violence of that time." (ANSA).