AP Serbia hopes to join NATO program despite failure to capture war crimes suspect
Serbia hopes to join NATO program despite failure to capture war crimes
Released : Friday, November 03, 2006 12:04 PM
BELGRADE, Serbia-Serbia said Friday it hopes that NATO will invite it to
join a preparatory program for aspiring members at the alliance's summit
later this month.
Although the Balkan country has not met a key demand, to extradite suspect
Gen. Ratko Mladic to the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,
the Foreign Ministry in Belgrade expressed hope in a statement that NATO
will invite Serbia to join the so-called Partnership for Peace program, a
stepping stone leading to possible full membership.
Mladic is among a few remaining Serb war crimes suspects still at large. He
was indicted by the Netherlands-based tribunal for major atrocities during
the Bosnian war, including the mass killing of up to 8,000 Muslims in
eastern Bosnia in 1995.
The NATO summit is due to take place Nov. 28-29 in Riga, Latvia.
The Serbian government has said it cannot locate the elusive ex-commander,
while prosecutors of the court in The Hague accuse Belgrade of harboring
Serbia's desired membership in the European Union also remains blocked over
Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic recently sent a letter to counterparts in
NATO countries, as well as to NATO's secretary-general Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer, urging them to accept Serbia in the preparatory program. Deputy
Foreign Minister Bratislav Djordjevic is to meet with top NATO officials in
Brussels next week.