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Re-elected Croatian President Pledges EU Membership


Croatia's pro-Western President Stjepan Mesic won a secondfive-year term in a run-off election Sunday, promising to build a modern country and lead Croatia into the European Union.

With nearly all votes counted, the 70-year-old Stepjan Mesic won near two-thirds of the votes, while his nearest rival, Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, trailed behind with about 34 percent.

Mr. Mesic pledged to cooperate with the U.N. War Crimes tribunal in The Hague, which is one of the conditions the European Union laid out before it begins to negotiate Croatia's accession.

High on the court's most wanted list is fugitive General Ante Gotovina, who has been charged with involvement in the killings of at least 150 Serb civilians and the deportation of 150,000 others in 1995 when Croatian forces recaptured land from Serbian occupiers.

Analysts have warned that Mr. Mesic's willingness to cooperate with the Tribunal puts him on a collision course with the nationalists, who still see some of the suspects on the War Crimes court's most wanted list as national heroes.

Mr. Mesic won his first term in 2000, shortly after his autocratic predecessor, Franjo Tudjman, died. He has vowed to maintain good relations with the West, including the United States, even though he had opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

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