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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
EU resumes talks with Belgrade
By Matt Prodger
BBC News, Belgrade

Gen Mladic
Gen Mladic has been indicted over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre
Talks have resumed in Belgrade on closer ties between the European Union and Serbia and Montenegro.

The discussions are taking place despite Serbia's failure to capture war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic.

The EU had threatened to disrupt the latest round of talks on establishing what is known as a stabilisation and association agreement.

But it decided not to after a positive report from UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte last week.

The Serbian authorities breathed a sigh of relief when the EU decided to give it another month to hand over Mr Mladic.

After receiving a report from Ms Del Ponte, the EU's enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, said that there was what he called "a credible possibility of concrete results in the weeks to come".

Reassessment

Belgrade says there are political obstacles to the arrest of Mr Mladic - namely a strong nationalist opposition movement, coupled with a hostility to The Hague war crimes tribunal on the part of the wider Serbian public - a hostility that has hardened since the death in custody of the former Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic.

The Serbian government has admitted that Mr Mladic was sheltered by the military until 2002, and that his family were drawing a pension on his behalf until December last year.

Along with his civilian counterpart, Radovan Karadzic, he is the most wanted fugitive in Europe, charged in absentia with genocide and crimes against humanity.

He is accused of orchestrating the massacre of nearly 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995 and of overseeing the siege of Sarajevo, in which around 10,000 people died.

The EU has said that it will reassess whether to continue its negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro at the end of April.


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