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EU Calls on Serbia to Show Willingness to Hunt War Crimes Fugitives


A top European Union official says Serbia can resume talks on closer ties with the EU after Belgrade's new government demonstrates a willingness to arrest war crimes fugitives.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Oli Rhen is the first foreign official to visit Belgrade since parliament approved a new, pro-Western coalition government late Monday.

After talks Wednesday with Foreign Minister-designate Vuk Jeremic, Rhen acknowledged Belgrade's clear commitment to European integration.

He also told reporters EU leaders want Belgrade to show its readiness to cooperate with the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The European Union last year suspended accession talks with Belgrade over its failure to arrest fugitive war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic, and other suspects sought by the tribunal in The Hague.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister-designate Vojislav Kostunica said the new government's goals include EU membership, but not at the cost of giving up its claim to the breakaway province of Kosovo.

The U.N. Security Council is preparing to vote on a recommendation granting supervised independence to the province's ethnic Albanian majority.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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