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Reuters Serbia Says NATO Invite Hangs On TV Call for Mladic

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  • sibercor2000
    http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2340035&C=europe DEFENSE NEWS (USA) Posted 11/07/06 16:45 Serbia Says NATO Invite Hangs On TV Call for Mladic By
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2006
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      http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2340035&C=europe

      DEFENSE NEWS (USA)

      Posted 11/07/06 16:45

      Serbia Says NATO Invite Hangs On TV Call for Mladic

      By REUTERS, BELGRADE

      NATO may let Serbia join its Partnership for Peace (PfP) club if Prime
      Minister Vojislav Kostunica goes on television to tell the country he must
      arrest war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, Serb officials said.

      The Vecernje Novosti newspaper on Nov. 7 quoted Serbia's ambassador to NATO,
      Branislav Milinkovic, as saying he got the message at NATO headquarters in
      Brussels from Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Nov. 6.

      "In this way, they would like to see decisiveness from the Serbian
      government regarding the issue of cooperation with the Hague Tribunal,"
      Milinkovic said.

      In Brussels, a NATO official declined to confirm the report.

      "This is speculation," the official said. "There is no consensus yet. It
      will be discussed at the highest level in Riga ... NATO still wants to see
      Mladic in the Hague before granting PfP, but this is an evolving situation."
      NATO leaders are due to hold a summit in Riga Nov. 28-29.

      Vecernje Novosti said the United States, which dominates the Atlantic
      Alliance, strongly opposes granting PfP membership to Serbia before it has
      handed over Mladic, while European Union members of NATO are in favor of an
      encouraging gesture.

      Serbia's pro-Western leaders aim to take the country into NATO, beginning
      with a place in the alliance's PfP ante-room for further-flung allies and
      potential candidates.

      Western powers are exasperated by what they see as a half-hearted commitment
      from Serb leaders to capturing Mladic, the Bosnian Serb wartime commander
      indicted for genocide but afforded hero status by some hardline nationalist
      Serbs.

      Yet the West is also keen to ensure that frustrations do not turn Serbs away
      from Euro-Atlantic integration. Serbia is already last in the Balkan queue
      to join the European Union because of its failure to arrest Mladic.

      Kostunica often reminds Serbs of a duty to "complete our cooperation with"
      the United Nations war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague,
      but rarely speaks bluntly of capturing and extraditing the fugitive general.

      Indicted in 1995 for the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims and the siege
      of Sarajevo, Mladic is still at large. Belgrade says it does not know where
      he is hiding or even if he is still in Serbia. But it insists it is doing
      all it can to track him down, and it believes it ought to be given credit
      for its efforts.
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