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Aid Restored To Serbia/Montenegro

The United States has restored ten-million dollars in aid to Serbia and Montenegro. The assistance was suspended in January, because the government of Serbia and Montenegro was not cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Since then, says U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, Serbia and Montenegro has transferred or assisted in the transfer of fifteen indicted war criminals:

"We believe there is a seriousness of purpose on the part of the government in Belgrade. We believe they are intent on getting this done, and their track record over the last three months gives us confidence that they have made a strategic decision that the indicted war criminals on their soil should be turned over to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague."

The tribunal was set up to try those accused of war crimes committed during conflicts in the Balkans. In spite of the arrests, Mr. Burns told Serb officials that they have not yet met their obligation to cooperate fully with the tribunal.

The most notorious fugitives are Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. A former general, Ratko Mladic has been indicted by the war crimes tribunal for his alleged involvement in killing nearly eight-thousand Muslim men and boys near the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995. Former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic is considered the architect of the Bosnian-Serb policy of ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian war.

Vladeta Jankovic is the foreign affairs adviser to Serbian Prime Minister Vojilsav Kostunica. He says Mladic may not be on the run much longer:

"I am certainly not in a position to give any dates. But we are working on it, and we have taken it seriously. And we have committed ourselves to fulfill our obligations to the international tribunal in The Hague fully with no limits, which means that everybody is included."

Mr. Jankovic also said his government is putting pressure on the Republika Srpska entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina to extradite former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre - Europe's most brutal war crime since the Second World War. President Boris Tadic of Serbia has indicated his willingness to go to Srebrenica and pay his respects to the victims. By taking such steps as this, Serbia and Montenegro have an opportunity to close a dark chapter of the past and open the door to a future as a full members of Europe and the trans-Atlantic community.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.