EU's empty ultimatum
Enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn said on Friday (31 March) the third round of SAA talks will go ahead next week after a positive UN report on Serbia's efforts to catch war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic, Balkans agency DTT-NET.COM reports.
"Today, I met the chief prosecutor of the ICTY, Mrs Carla del Ponte, who reported progress in Serbia and Montenegro's cooperation with the ICTY which gives a credible possibility of concrete results in the weeks to come."
The UN's International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) wants to try Mr Mladic, as well as fellow Serb Radovan Kardzic for crimes involving the killing of 8,000 muslim boys and men in Srebrenica in 1995.
"[Serbia's] prime minister Kostunica has today given me his firm commitment to locate, arrest and transfer Ratko Mladic to The Hague without delay" Mr Rehn said.
"On this basis, I have decided to maintain the negotiation round next week."
The SAA talks could still be broken off if there is no progress on the ICTY fugitives by the end of April, he warned.
"At the end of April the commission will reassess the situation and whether to continue the negotiations," the commissioner said.
Serbia and Montenegro launched the SAA talks last November.
The SAA process is designed to bring the Serbian legal system and economy in line with the EU as a first step for potential future EU membership.