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Dutch officials refuse to sign EUís Serbia association accord

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE Ė If Serbia wants to fast-track its application for EU-membership, it will have to comply with the extradition requests by the UN Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague. That condition is basic to the Dutch who are eager to bolster the credibility of the international courts they host in and around The Hague. They refuse to co-sign the initial association accord for Serbia because it has failed to extradite an alleged war criminal from the 1995 Srebrenica genocide which cost the lives of about 8,000 Muslim men from the Bosnian enclave in Bosniaís Serbian region. The UN tribunal has charged Ratko Mladic with this crime although the former general is not the only Serb who failed to appear before the court. Current EU president Slovenia, itself a former Yugoslav republic, still wants the accord signed in January. Dutch foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen wonders about the haste. Serbia still needs to help settle the Kosovo independence dispute as well before progress is possible.