Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Belgrade Invites Eu Mission to Check Icty Cooperation

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/serbia : Belgrade Invites Eu Mission to Check Icty Cooperation

Article excerpt

Serbia has invited the EU to dispatch a fact-finding mission to the country to verify that the government in Belgrade has been fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). "The proposal is addressed to all member states," said Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic at a joint press conference with his Czech counterpart, Karel Schwarzenberg, and the Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, on 26 January in Brussels. He suggested that the aim of the invitation is to broaden the EU's "angle of perception" as well as "complement" UN Prosecutor Serge Brammertz's reporting. "We are fully cooperating with the ICTY. The priority for us is to demonstrate it to the member states," said Jeremic. "We have absolutely nothing to hide," he added.

Citing Serbia's failure to arrest two ICTY fugitives, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, the Netherlands has blocked the ratification process of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) Serbia signed last April, jeopardising Belgrade's chances to apply for EU membership in 2009.

Asked for comment on Serbia's proposal, Rehn said he would embark on "his own mission" to Belgrade early next month to evaluate Serbia's cooperation with the ICTY.

Earlier, after meeting with his Dutch counterpart, Maxime Verhagen, Jeremic said that the government in the Hague has accepted his invitation and "offered support to Serbia joining the EU". He also said he received confirmation from the foreign ministers of Great Britain, Germany, Romania and other member states of the EU's readiness to help Serbia achieve the priority goal of becoming a candidate for EU membership by the end of 2009. …

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