Sarkozy: Mladic is step toward Serbia joining EU

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday hailed the arrest of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic as "a step towards Serbia joining the European Union."

"This is very good news, it's very big news. This is ... another step towards Serbia joining, one day soon, the European Union," Sarkozy said, on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of Eight most industrialised democracies.

Serbia's President Boris Tadic had earlier Thursday confirmed reports that the 69-year-old had been detained by Serbian security forces, saying the capture would bolster his country's "moral credibility in the world".

Mladic's arrest ends a a 16-year manhunt for the general accused of masterminding Europe's worst massacre since World War II.

Tadic said the extradition process was already underway to send him to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a UN tribunal based in The Hague.

Mladic, the most wanted fugitive from the ICTY, faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the Srebrenica massacre and the bloody siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 conflict.

© 2011 AFP

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