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Belgrade Starts Talks On Stabilization Agreement With EU

(RFE/RL) 7 November 2005 -- Serbia and Montenegro formally opened talks today on closer ties with the European Union -- an initial step toward eventual membership.

Belgrade hopes to successfully conclude a stabilization and association agreement with the EU within a year. It hopes for EU entry in 2012.

EU foreign ministers granted a mandate for the negotiations last month, after deciding Belgrade had made enough progress in reforms.

But the EU has warned that the talks could be stopped unless top UN war crimes fugitives are arrested and handed over to the UN's war crimes tribunal in The Hague by the end of the year.

(compiled from wire reports)