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EU talks with Serbia could be back on table

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EU talks with Serbia could be back on table

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Talks on Serbia joining the European Union could be resumed, even without the arrest of war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic. That is according to EU diplomats, who say that if Brussels finds Belgrade’s plans to catch Mladic convincing, there would be “great readiness” to restart negotiations.

Talks were suspended in May after Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica failed to keep a promise to deliver Mladic to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. A British official has explained the formal requirement for re-starting discussions is for Serbia to demonstrate “full cooperation” with the tribunal.

But a spokesman for chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte said there have to be results before talks could begin again. A former Bosnian Serb military commander, Mladic is wanted for trial on genocide charges for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims. It is thought that he is being sheltered by people within Serb military intelligence.

EU officials say they believe Kostunica has committed himself to arresting Mladic rather than trying to arrange a voluntary handover.