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Oct 15, 2007 18:37 EEST
October 15 (SeeNews) - Serbia's cooperation with the Hague war crimes tribunal is still slow and insufficient, top United Nations prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said on Monday.
Cooperation with the United Nations tribunal is a key condition for Serbia to build closer ties with the European Union.
"Although there has been progress, we believe that the level of assistance provided by Serbian authorities in providing documents remains insufficient and does not match their declared political commitment," Del Ponte said in a statement posted on the tribunal's website.
"I confirm that the situation today is better than it was a year ago. However, cooperation is still too slow and not yet sufficient," she added.
Del Ponte urged once more the authorities in Belgrade to arrest and transfer to The Hague fugitive Bosnian Serb Army general Ratko Mladic, one the four remaining war crime indictees sought by the tribunal that are still on the run.
"[The] four fugitives remain at large and the search for them appears to be extremely slow [...] Therefore, I cannot give a positive assessment of full cooperation until Ratko Mladić is arrested and transferred to The Hague," del Ponte said.
"However, I welcome the decision taken by the National Security Council of Serbia last Thursday to reward those providing information leading to the arrest of three fugitives," she added.
Serbia announced on Friday it was offering a one million euro ($1.4 million) reward for information that could lead to the arrest Ratko Mladic. Rewards of 250,000 euro each were offered for information, which could lead to the arrest of war crime fugitives Stojan Zupljanin and Goran Hadzic.
Del Ponte said she would visit the Serbian capital next week to assess the progress in cooperation and go there once again ahead of her briefing to the Security Council in December.
In June,the EU restarted talks with Serbia on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) after two of the most wanted fugitives from the confllict in the former Yugoslavia, General Zdravko Tolimir and Serbian police general Vlastimir Djordjevic, were arrested. Serbia hopes to sign a SAA with the EU by the end of 2007 and attain candidate status for the bloc by the end of next year.
The SAA agreement was expected to be initialed on Monday. No information about the impact on Del Ponte's assesmant on the course of the relationships between Serbia and the EU was immediately available.
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