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UN War Crimes Prosecutor Praises Serbian Commitment to Arrest War Crime Suspects

The chief United Nations war crimes prosecutor has praised the Serbian government for its commitment to capture and bring to justice the remaining fugitive war crimes suspects.

Carla del Ponte Wednesday said her report on Serbia's cooperation with the U.N. war crimes tribunal, due on June 18, will be positive. But she added that she expects Serbia to take "other positive steps" by then. The prosecutor spoke to reporters in Belgrade, after a meeting with Serbian President Boris Tadic.

Mr. Tadic said in an interview that Serbian leaders are determined to arrest the most wanted fugitive, General Ratko Mladic.

Del Ponte told London's Financial Times newspaper in an interview published today that Mladic could be arrested within weeks.

She also commended Serbian authorities for their role in capturing fugitive Bosnian Serb General Zdravko Tolimir last week.

Belgrade's cooperation with the U.N. International Tribunal for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia is the European Union's key requirement for resuming talks on a Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia. This agreement is a first step towards Serbia's candidacy to join the 27-nation bloc.

The talks stalled last year after the international prosecutor determined that Serbia is not doing enough to capture indicted suspects.