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EU could resume Serbia membership talks without Mladic arrest

[JURIST] The European Union [official website] may resume talks with Serbia over the country's possible accession [EU materials] into the EU this fall, even if indicted war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has not been arrested and handed over to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website], according to European diplomats Thursday. Talks can resume if Belgrade shows convincing evidence that it is actively searching for the missing suspect, last believed to be hiding in Serbia [JURIST report]. The EU suspended talks with Serbia in June over its failure to hand over Mladic, and the US cut off financial aid [JURIST reports] to Serbia for the same reason.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica [official profile; Wikipedia profile] will present the country's plan to capture Mladic to the EU on Monday, and EU diplomats have indicated that they will resume talks with Serbia if there is a "positive assessment of the plan by the tribunal." A British official denied that Mladic's arrest has always been a condition to membership talks, asserting that Serbia had to show "full cooperation" with the ICTY before EU membership talks could resume. A spokesman for ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte, however, indicated that membership talks were still conditional upon Mladic's handover. Mladic is wanted by the ICTY for allegedly organizing the 1995 slaughter of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica [JURIST news archive], Bosnia. Reuters has more.

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