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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
EU welcomes Mladic hunt plan
Ratko Mladic (pointing) during the civil war (1994)
Gen Mladic, centre, faces genocide charges
The European Union has welcomed a Serbian plan to capture the former Bosnian Serb military leader, Ratko Mladic.

The Serbian prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, presented the plan to EU foreign ministers in the hope it will unblock talks on closer ties.

The EU suspended talks with Serbia in May after Belgrade failed to deliver Mladic to the war crimes tribunal.

Gen Mladic is charged with genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Mr Kostunica committed his government to improving the co-ordination of security forces, changing laws, and to a media campaign aimed at winning support for Mr Mladic's arrest.

A BBC correspondent in Brussels, Oana Lungescu, says that while the plan has been welcomed, visible action will be required if Serbia is to resume the path towards EU membership.

Along with former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Gen Mladic is the most-wanted war crimes suspect in Europe.

The suspension of talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement - the first step to EU membership - is considered detrimental to the government in Belgrade and its drive towards economic reforms.

EU officials are also worried that the stand-off over the issue of arresting Mladic is strengthening the hardline nationalist Radical Party which is increasingly popular in Serbia.

It has threatened to annul the peace treaties that ended the wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

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