On a visit to Paris, the Serbian prime minister has assured the French president that key war crimes suspects will be handed over to the UN tribunal in The Hague soon. Vojislav Kostunica told Jacques Chirac that Belgrade is in his words “very very close” to arresting former Serb commander Ratko Mladic.
Last week Kostunica made a similar pledge to Carla del Ponte, the tribunal’s chief prosecutor. The handover of Mladic is a key step for Serbia to take on the road towards closer ties with the European Union. Brussels has set a deadline of the end of April, and says all further progress depends on Mladic being arrested. He has been indicted, along with fellow fugitive Radovan Karadzic, for the Srebrenica massacre, in which up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed, and the siege of Sarajevo, in which more than 10,000 civilians died.