Updated: 24-Jul-2003 July 2003

22 July 2003

Serbia and Montenegro officials visit NATO

22/07/2003 - NATO
Visit to NATO by Mr.Svetozar Marovic, President and Mr. Goran Svilanovic, Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro
20/07/2003 - NATO
Serbia seeks to become NATO partner
Transcript of the press point
Audio file of the press point (.MP3 6557kb)
High resolution photos
The President and Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro met with Secretary General Lord Robertson at NATO on 22 July to discuss their country’s bid to join NATO’s partnership programme.

During their meeting President Marovic and Foreign Minister Svilanovic also discussed the wider issue of integrating the Western Balkans into European and Euro-Atlantic structures and other areas of common concern.

NATO is already cooperating with Serbia and Montenegro in a number of areas, such as defence reform. The talks focused on the conditions Serbia and Montenegro must meet to become a full member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme.

Bringing indicted criminals to justice

Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Lord Robertson said that full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) remains a key precondition.

He praised Serbia and Montenegro’s efforts to date, particularly the recent arrests of indicted persons, but said more still needed to be done.

Lord Robertson also delivered a stern warning to General Ratko Mladic, indicted for war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and believed to be hiding in Serbia.

No escape for Mladic

One thing that General Mladic needs to realize is that there is no escape. There is no statute of limitations, there will be no stop to the campaign to find him and to bring him to trial. So the cowardly route of being a permanent fugitive is a dead end,” he said, adding that General Mladic should consider surrendering himself.

President Marovic reiterated his country’s commitment to cooperation with ICTY, including the arresting of all indicted war criminals. He said he had discussed with the Secretary General the possibility of “joint action” with NATO in order to apprehend General Mladic.

He also said that Serbia and Montenegro is considering dropping their current lawsuit against eight NATO member countries for the 1999 air campaign.