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UN Says Mladic Still at Large


A U.N. prosecutor says accused Bosnian war-crimes suspect Ratko Mladic remains at large in Serbia. The prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, spoke with reporters at The Hague.

The comments by Del Ponte have dampened speculation that Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian-Serb military commander, had been detained in Serbia.

Del Ponte has told a news conference she learned from Serbian authorities that Mladic is not in custody.

"There is no indication at all that negotiations about his surrender are currently being conducted," Del Ponte said. "I was in contact with the authorities in Belgrade yesterday evening (late Tuesday) and I was assured that there is no truth in all this. Mladic remains at large, unfortunately."

Mladic is wanted by the U.N. war-crimes tribunal at The Hague. He is accused of ordering a massacre in Srebrenica of eight-thousand Muslim men and boys in what is called the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

Del Ponte says Serbian authorities must make sure he is brought to justice.

"Ratko Mladic is in Serbia," she said. "There is no doubt about it. He has been there since 1998. And during all this time, he has been, and he remains, within the reach of the Serbian authorities. He can and must be arrested immediately. And I expect all Serbian authorities to work much more intensively towards that objective."

Del Ponte says the European Union can apply more pressure on Serbia, which wants to join the 25-nation bloc. She says EU deadlines linked to clear sanctions will produce results.