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Serbia and Montenegro Assistance

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

The United States is withholding ten-million dollars in aid to Serbia and Montenegro that was allocated for 2005. This action follows a previous decision to withhold more than sixteen-million dollars of assistance in 2004.

The U.S. is cutting off assistance because of Serbia and Montenegro's failure to cooperate with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In the nine years since the Dayton peace accords were signed, Serbian officials have not arrested any of the major figures indicted for war crimes other than Slobodan Milosevic. Twenty people from three former Yugoslav states were indicted, including a dozen from Serbia. The U.S. has called on authorities in Belgrade to provide access to investigators, turn over documents, and assist in the capture of those indicted.

Among those who must face justice is former Serbian army commander Radko Mladic. Mladic is wanted for his role in the 1995 massacre of nearly eight-thousand Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. The murders were described by the U-N tribunal as "the triumph of evil." Mladic was indicted for crimes against humanity in 1996. It appears that Mladic was on the Serbian army's payroll as recently as 2002. The U.S. has offered a five-million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

Secretary of State Colin Powell stressed in a 2004 meeting with Serbian president Boris Tadic the importance of cooperating with the war crimes tribunal:

"We spoke about the case of Mr. Mladic and that we had to try to do everything we could, collectively, to bring him to justice."

Until cooperation with the U-N war crimes tribunal is forthcoming, Serbia and Montenegro will make little headway in its effort to join the European Union or programs like NATO's partnership for peace."