December 10, 2009
Back in 1999, I wrote a letter to Solana, in his capacity of NATO Secretary General. This happened a few days after I returned from the then Yugoslavia, now Serbia, where I was covering the Kosovo war for the Sofia daily ‘Sega’. On 26 May, while crossing with my Renault 5 the bridge Ciflik, which is somewhere near Pirot, at one hour drive from the border with Bulgaria, a NATO airplane bombed the bridge. Happily enough, it was a near miss. In my letter, I asked the question why the pilot decided to strike when it was visible that there was a civilian car driving through the bridge, and why did they decide to destroy a bridge without any value as a military target. Also, they would have cut the only way Bulgaria has towards Belgrade and Vienna, punishing my country, which was helping NATO at that time by giving its airspace.
Solana did not answer, but I received a letter from a deputy Secretary General of NATO, who told me that when the airstrikes started, NATO said there will be no sanctuary in Yugoslavia, and I should not have been there in the first place.
In my car, I had a few rolls of toilet paper with the face of Solana, which I bought from the Belgrade Kneza Mihajlova street, a nice pedestrian zone. I took them as a curiosity to Sofia for friends to see. Serbs really hated him.
Now Solana acknowledges that the Kosovo war has been his worst time in high office. I’m sure it was. And I’m glad he recognises it.