Eu/serbia/kosovo : Del Ponte: No Conclusion of Saa before Mladic Is Arrested

Europe-East, July 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Eu/serbia/kosovo : Del Ponte: No Conclusion of Saa before Mladic Is Arrested


Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has called on the EU to refrain from signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia unless the government in Belgrade delivers one of the ICTY's most wanted indictees. "EU conditionality is a crucial tool for encouraging cooperation with the ICTY. Ninety percent of those in custody now are there as a direct result of EU conditionality," Del Ponte told the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee on 26 June.

Following concrete actions taken by the newly appointed Serbian government to achieve full cooperation with the ICTY, inter alia, the handover of Zdravko Tolimir, the No 3 on the list of most wanted war crimes suspects still at large after Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, to the Hague, the EU has decided to resume negotiations on an SAA with Belgrade. This move was hailed by Del Ponte, who sees Serbia's recent actions as positive. "Cooperation has not been full or consistent, but recent signs are positive," said Del Ponte, adding that "Serbia has the political will now to hand over the four remaining fugitives".

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who addressed the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee the same day, confirmed that "Serbia stands ready to fulfil its obligations" stemming from the SAA negotiations and cooperation with the ICTY. Serbia's new government intends to sign the SAA with the EU by the end of 2007 and become a candidate for EU membership the following year.

KOSOVO'S KNOT

Jeremic warned the MEPs that his government is not willing to accept an independent Kosovo, suggesting that "an imposed solution is not sustainable, for it would sow the seeds of future conflicts in the region".

The EU, which is going to take over the administration of Kosovo from the UN once its status is finally determined by the UN Security Council, says that the new resolution on the Serbia's breakaway province should be based on special envoy Martti Ahtisaari's report, which foresees internationally monitored independence for Kosovo. Serbia, backed by Russia - a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council - does not share the EU's view and fiercely opposes any proposals granting Kosovo anything more than far-reaching autonomy. …

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