Serbia, Bosnia Embark on ‘New Era’

Posted March 14th, 2012 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are pushing ahead with closer ties and more cooperation, putting aside deep-seated anger and animosity that highlighted relations during the 1992-to-1995 Bosnian war.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told reporters “there are no more obstacles,” following a meeting Wednesday with Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija in Belgrade.

The two ministers promised a more dynamic working relationship going forward, saying each country would support the other in their respective bids for greater European integration. They also signed a deal that allows the consulate from one country to provide services for citizens of the other country in areas where only one country has representation.

Serb forces battled Bosnian Muslims and Croats in the 1990s, during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. The Serb government also supported Bosnian Serb forces — who fought Bosnian Muslims — during the conflict.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague is still prosecuting war crimes committed during the conflict, including ex-Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic.

Mladic is being tried for his alleged role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed and for the 44-month siege of Bosnia's capital city, Sarajevo, in which 10,000 people died.

Mladic was arrested in Serbia last year after being a fugitive for 16 years. Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic was captured in 2008 and his trial is under way. Former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic died in custody in 2006 before his trial ended.

Croatia is to become the second of the six republics of the former Yugoslavia to join the European Union after Slovenia, which became a member in 2004. All other countries that emerged from the former Yugoslavia — Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia — are seeking membership. EU leaders granted Serbia membership candidate status earlier this month.