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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Serbia May Resume Talks with EU

BRUSSELS -- Serbia can resume suspended talks on an EU pre-membership agreement, the bloc said Thursday, after Belgrade demonstrated "a clear commitment" to cooperate with a United Nations war crimes tribunal.

The European Union announcement to restart talks on June 13 was seen as a major victory for Serbia's reformist president Boris Tadic, who enjoys U.S. and EU backing in his efforts to break with the country's nationalist past.

"I welcome the progress Serbia has made since the establishment of the new government in its cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in a statement.

The announcement came a day after UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte praised Serbia for the recent arrest of General Zdravko Tolimir, a key fugitive. During a visit to Belgrade, she insisted on the capture of the most wanted suspect from the Balkan wars in the 1990s: General Ratko Mladic, who is sought on war crimes charges stemming from his role in the 1995 massacre of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.

Mladic is considered a hero by Serb ultranationalists and the leadership of their Radical Party, the country's largest. Although the government of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in the past insisted that it did not know Mladic's whereabouts, Del Ponte has always maintained that his capture and extradition depended only on Belgrade.

"I encourage Serbia to continue improving its cooperation with the tribunal in The Hague, to ensure that all remaining indictees are brought to justice, thus achieving lasting reconciliation in the Western Balkans," Barroso said.