Mladic arrest does not guarantee EU membership: Dutch PM

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Former Bosnian military leader Ratko Mladic's arrest Thursday was "an important condition" for Serbia's entry into the European Union, but did not mean automatic membership, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

"It was an important condition, but it does not mean automatic membership. It just doesn't work like that," Rutte told Dutch public radio, saying it was necessary to "examine all the facts around every entrant."

Serbian President Boris Tadic announced the former Bosnian military leader's arrest on Thursday, ending some 16 years on the run from warcrimes charges, including genocide in the infamous Srebrenica massacre.

The EU and particularly the Netherlands has underscored Belgrade's co-operation with the Hague-based court as one of the main conditions for Serbia's entry into the 27-nation bloc.

Rutte said Mladic's arrest was important for the victims of Srebrenica and their families, but also for "Dutchbat", the Dutch UN contingent charged with protecting the Muslim enclave but who were unable to resist Serb forces.

© 2011 AFP

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