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Serb War Crimes Suspect Arrested Outside Belgrade

Serbian police have arrested war crimes suspect Stojan Zupljanin, one of four top Serb fugitives sought by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Bruno Vekaric, a spokesman for Serbia's special war crimes court says authorities arrested the suspect Wednesday in a Belgrade suburb. He says Zupljanin will appear before the Serbian court, and will then be transferred to The Hague.

The U.N. tribunal indicted Zupljanin, a former top Bosnian Serb police commander, in 1999 on charges of crimes against Croats and Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Balkan conflict.

European foreign policy chief Javier Solana and EU Enlargement Commissioner Ollie Rehn hailed the news of his arrest.

The U.S. State Department also welcomed the the arrest. Spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos expressed hope the arrest of the remaining fugitives from the former Yugoslavia will follow.

Zupljanin was a close aide to another top suspect sought by the tribunal, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The Hague court also is seeking the arrest of former top Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic and former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic.

Olga Kavran, a spokeswoman for U.N. prosecutors said today's arrest proves that fugitive war crimes suspects are within reach of Serbian authorities.

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