Mladic and Karadzic's arrest is a precursor for Serbia's advancement within the EU (file) (epa)
19 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission today warned Serbia that it must hand over fugitive war crime suspects General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic if it wants to build closer ties with the EU.
The warning was given by EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, who spoke after meeting in Brussels with the chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Carla del Ponte.
"If we cannot see rapid progress in achieving full cooperation [with the Tribunal], it would certainly have extremely negative consequences for the conduct of negotiations on the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia," he said.
Rehn said association talks with Serbia -- a precursor to EU candidate status -- could be broken off.
Del Ponte said Mladic is in Serbia and enjoys the protection of the Serbian army. She said the Tribunal needs EU help in apprehending Mladic in time for the trial in July of nine other indictees in the genocide at Srebrenica.
Del Ponte praised Bosnia and Montenegro for their cooperation with the war crimes tribunal.