Netherlands sees Serbia as more cooperative

13th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands, who has demanded for Belgrade’s full cooperation with the ICTY before closer ties can be forged, says Serbia is now displaying ‘positive’ signals.

The Hague – Serbia appears to have boosted cooperation with the UN's Yugoslav tribunal, an issue that has held up its bid for closer ties with the European Union, the Dutch foreign ministry said Thursday.

The Netherlands has insisted on Belgrade's full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), based in The Hague, and the arrest of Bosnian Serb genocide suspect Ratko Mladic before an EU deal on closer ties can take effect.

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen believes "the first signals are positive" from a report on Serbia's cooperation from the tribunal's prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, ministry spokesman Bart Rijs said.

But Verhagen has warned that the full report will determine whether Serbia's cooperation was "total" and he will comment in detail after it is presented to the UN Security Council on 3 December, Rijs said, confirming comments the minister made to parliament late Wednesday.

The Netherlands has said it will support free travel for Serbians within the European Union while maintaining its veto of the EU trade and aid pact with the Balkan nation.

"I will discourage the Serbs from prematurely asking to become a (European Union) member," Verhagen said, according to Rijs.

A Dutch diplomat said on condition of anonymity that the Netherlands government has authorised Verhagen to reconsider his approach to Serbia if the prosecutor reports that the country has done all it can to cooperate.

Mladic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb armed forces, has been on the run since being indicted by the ICTY in 1995.

AFP / Expatica

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