HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc91-2W
Mr. Robathan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations he has made to EU partners on(a) the situation in Serbia and (b) Serbian co-operation with international institutions; [155670]

(2) what assessment he has made of the co-operation of the Serbian Government with (a) UN authorities and (b) the War Crimes Tribunal; [155671]

what assessment he has made of UN reports that Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are in Belgrade; and what representations he has made to the Serbian authorities on this matter. [155672]

Mr. MacShane

We and our European Union partners regularly discuss the situation in Serbia and the rest of the Balkans region. The General Affairs and External Relations Council on 26 January noted the results of the recent Serbian parliamentary elections of 28 December 2003. It urged all democratic parties to help form a government committed to reform and further integration with the European Union.

While the relationship between Belgrade and the United Nations Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has been difficult, the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Co-ordination Centre for Kosovo and Metohija, Nebojsa Covic, has recently made helpful statements on the Direct Dialogue Working Groups. These talks will cover areas such as environmental issues, energy and missing persons. This is a positive step towards building a stable future for Kosovo.

The UK fully supports the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which helps foster reconciliation and stability in the region. Serbia and Montenegro (SaM) made some progress in early 2003, but co-operation has since stalled. We take every opportunity to remind Belgrade that in order to realise her Euro-Atlantic aspirations, SaM must fulfil the international obligation of full and complete co-operation with the ICTY.

We believe that SaM could do more to co-operate with the ICTY, particularly by assisting in the arrest and transfer of Bosnian Serb leaders Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Through both bilateral and EU initiatives, we continue to put pressure on the SaM Government to transfer all remaining ICTY indictees, including Mladic and Karadzic, and to allow ICTY full access to documents and witnesses.