EU urges Mladic transfer to UN court
Brussels - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged Serbia on Thursday to transfer former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic to the war crimes court in The Hague without delay following his arrest.
Ashton "strongly welcomes the arrest of Ratko Mladic" as "an important step forward for Serbia and for international justice", her spokesperson said in a statement.
The EU chief diplomat hailed the "courageous action" of the Serb authorities and expects "Mladic to be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia without delay", Ashton's spokesperson Michael Mann added on his Twitter account.
The EU has repeatedly stressed that full co-operation with the ICTY was essential for Serbia to make progress in its bid to join the 27-nation bloc.
The arrest coincided with a previously planned trip by Ashton to Belgrade on Thursday, during which she was to state "the EU's firm support to Serbia's European perspective".
"The arrest of Ratko Mladic is therefore a very positive development for the European Union, for Serbia's neighbours, but most of all for the rule of law in Serbia itself," the spokesperson underlined.
"The families of his countless victims deserve justice."
European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek added that the arrest "is convincing proof of Serbia's efforts and co-operation with the ICTY".
However, he underlined that "the remaining fugitive, Goran Hadzic, is still at large and all efforts should be made to arrest Hadzic and bring him to justice".