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Serbian Elections Raise EU Hopes
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The EU yesterday welcomed the outcome of Sunday's general elections in Serbia and expressed its hope for a quick formation of a pro-European government.


"We have all the reason to welcome the fact that the parliamentary elections yesterday were conducted freely and fairly," EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters after an EU foreign ministers' meeting. "I note with satisfaction that the democratic, reformist forces that share European values achieved a clear parliamentary majority, which should enable them to form a reform-oriented and pro-European government."


He said he was looking forward to working with Serbia's Europe-oriented leaders in plotting the country’s course towards the EU.


With good institutional capacity, Serbia could implement the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) quickly and effectively once the negotiations were concluded, he said.


The EU suspended SAA talks with Serbia last year since the country failed to cooperate fully with the UN war crime tribunal for former Yugoslavia.


The SAA is a special arrangement for Western Balkan countries on a path to EU accession. The signing of the SAA is the first step in their journey toward the bloc.


Rehn said the EU still sees full cooperation with the UN tribunal as a necessary condition for the "pace and conclusion" of the SAA negotiations.


He expressed the hope that the new Serbian government would actively work towards the arrest and handover of General Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian Serb military commander.


(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2007)


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