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Serbia to resume EU talks if war criminal is handed over

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Serbia to resume EU talks if war criminal is handed over

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The fledgling Serbian government can resume talks over EU entry if it makes progress on arresting suspected war criminals, the Union’s enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn has said.

Military police in and around Belgrade have been focusing on the search for General Ratko Mladic. He’s wanted by the UN’s war crimes tribunal in connection with the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s. His capture is key if EU entry talks are to begin again after being suspended last year.

Another potential hurdle is the issue of Kosovo. Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has said he intends to hold onto the province, despite a UN proposal that would set it towards independence.

Kostunica and Serbia’s President Boris Tadic were meeting EU representatives in Belgrade just a day after agreeing a new coalition. The EU had feared a nationalist element would be involved in the government. But Kostunica avoided this outcome, despite last ditch nationalist efforts to stall negotiations in protest at the search for Mladic.