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Italy’s La Scala performs a concert for peace in Bosnia

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Milan’s La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra performed a concert Sunday in Sarajevo, bringing a message of reconciliation a day after the 20th anniversary commemorations of the Srebrenica massacre were marred by an attack on Serbia’s prime minister.

Bosnians heard Handel, Mozart and Pergolesi performed at the Sarajevo National Theater and also on screens in front of a mosque, a Serbian Orthodox church, a Catholic cathedral and a synagogue.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that two decades after the “genocide in Srebrenica and the war, the message is to look into the future. We need reconciliation, we need peace and we need cooperation.”

Italy co-sponsored the concert with Bosnia’s Inter-religious Council.

During Saturday’s anniversary ceremonies marking the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Muslims pelted Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic with rocks.

“After a very sad and divisive day yesterday … Italy through the diversity of richness and the music of a brand name of the La Scala wants to give a smile to the whole country, wants to give a sign of hope,” said Italian Ambassador to Bosnia, Ruggero Corrias.

“Such an event cheers up people in Bosnia, where usually there is not much reason for joy,” said Jakob Finci, the head of Bosnia’s Jewish Community.

The massacre of Muslims at the end of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war was labeled by two international courts as an act of genocide.

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