Serbian EU Bid Hangs by a Thread
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 1:20 PM

Olli Rehn, Enlargement Commissioner for the EU said that Serbia must continue cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) or face suspension of talks for closer ties with the EU under a Stabilisation and Association agreement (SAA).

The ICTY’s chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, has demanded that war crimes suspects be handed over to the court, and has only recently shown signs of satisfaction with Belgrade’s co-operation. High on Ms Del Ponte’s list is the Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic, accused of genocide.  Mr. Mladic is believed to be hiding somewhere in Serbia.

Montenegro and Kosovo
Mr. Rehn also told the leadership of Montenegro, which is currently tied to Serbia by a union, that its proposed referendum on independence should abide by international standards. 

A three-year agreement on the united status of the two former Yugoslav republics will run out in February 2006, with a referendum planned for next year. The current SAA framework between Brussels and Belgrade covers both Serbia and Montenegro, however preliminary talks on the SAA were held separately with both countries.

Negotiations are also set to start shortly on the future status of Kosovo, which is currently a UN protectorate.

Compiled from: Serbian EU Hangs by a Thread, Rehn Says, Mark Beunderman, EU Observer, 11 October 2005.