Serb Premier On Serbia's Cooperation With Hague Tribunal

Cooperation between Belgrade and the Hague Tribunal also implies extradition of people suspected of committing war crimes, said Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, speaking on local radio, according to this correspondent. This remark by the Serb premier came after the US Congress adopted the day before a law on allocating $115m in financial assistance to Serbia on the proviso that it fulfils a number of requirements. Serbia can draw on the money if "it cooperates with the Hague Tribunal, allows it to see documents, and also if it extradites the accused or cooperate in their detention." To comply with these conditions Belgrade has been given until March 31, 2002. Among the requests there is also full implementation of the Dayton accords, in particular an end to financial, political and other assistance to various structures of Republika Srpska, which is an entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A similar demand was put by the US to Croatia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Belgrade is being told what sort of policy it should pursue towards ethnic minorities. The Congress demanded also the release of all political prisoners from Serb prisons. The American act obliges US representatives at international financial institutions in the future to vote against any project of assistance to countries "whose authorities do not cooperate duly with the Hague Tribunal." Djindjic provided reassurance that the Serbian government "is exerting maxim efforts to fulfil all these conditions set by the Americans in order to achieve the level of a democratic country." According to him, national interests must be protected, and they, the premier believes, are for Serbia to be seen in the world as a country fulfilling its commitments and advancing along the road of democracy.

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