Verhagen stands firm on Serbia

Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen is refusing to bow down to pressure from other EU foreign ministers and sanction a trade pact with Serbia, news agency ANP reports.

Verhagen maintains Serbia has not done enough to cooperate with the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal in The Hague to merit associate membership of the EU.
ANP says the tribunal’s chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz told ministers in Luxembourg on Monday that there is progress but that Serbia is still not cooperating fully.
Verhagen has said repeatedly he will not agree to associate membership until Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb leader held responsible for the massacre of 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995, has been handed over to the tribunal. The enclave was under Dutch protection at the time.
Verhagen is, however, prepared to relax visa requirements and remove a number of import taxes, such as on wine and sugar, ANP said.
ANP says the issue is likely to be discussed at the EU summit in Brussels at the end of this week.

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