At the same time, according to Nikolic, the rest remained "tragically silent and uninterested - because it was Serbs that were being murdered and driven out."
Tanjug reported that Nikolic, speaking during a memorial academy held in Belgrade to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Croatia's military campaign, added that Serbia was "praying that this kind of evil never repeats although it seems that only one, Serb side, cannot be constantly offering a hand of reconciliation and cooperation, while the other side is celebrating other people's misery and pain in full force."
He stressed that "Serbia was doing that even though a large majority of the expelled Serbs have not solved key issues related to property and residence rights, the unpaid pensions, the farming land that was taken away, the savings owed to them."
"Serbia has for its part showed a sincere dedication to peace and stability in the region and to overcoming of all open issues. The past is painful and burdensome, but the future must be built in cooperation and by overcoming our differences," Nikolic stressed.
Compromise and a sense of community rather than hatred and degrading was needed "in order to make the life of future generations possible" and in order for "minority communities to accept a state as their own."
"They should have a life worthy of humans, at least the right to their own language, alphabet, faith, history, culture," said the president.
While the Serbs in Croatia "do not even have the right to street signs in their own alphabet," minorities in Serbia have constitutionally guaranteed rights "greater than those of the Serb people," Nikolic said, adding that "Serbia does not expect implementation of absolute reciprocity" - but instead, "only a minimum of human dignity."
The president also said that "forgiving never means forgetting" but that Serbia has been prone throughout its history to "easily renounce and almost forget the Serb victims - in the name of some interests, that were everyone's but ours."
"It's never too late to correct historical errors and remember our own who suffered and are still suffering," Nikolic said, adding that the Serb people's victory is in surviving and living, building and persevering.
Parts of his speech were published earlier in the day, stating that Croatia's military parade held on Tuesday to celebrate Operation Storm sent a message to the expelled Serbs "not to return."
"They (Croatia) also organized a military parade. Of course, they did not mark victory over fascism and Nazism with a parade, Victory Day over concentration camps and genocide. They wouldn't go against themselves," Nikolic said.
The president also stated that "Croatians with the parade celebrated a day when they killed and expelled their own people with impunity."
"With the parade they are telling the living and the expelled Serbs: don't return, the same will be in store for you once again," Nikolic said.