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Dutch FM says Tadic's election a step towards EU
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-02-07 13:56
Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said the re-election of the Serbian President Tadic "gives grounds for confidence that the country will continue on course towards the European Union", Dutch media reported Wednesday.

"The Netherlands believes the future of Serbia lies in Europe. But it is up to Serbia itself to take the necessary steps enabling its further approach to the EU," Verhagen said Tuesday in a statement on the foreign ministry's website.

Tadic won a narrow victory Sunday over nationalist Tomislav Nikolic in a run-off poll.

The Netherlands, together with Belgium, recently blocked a stabilization and association agreement the EU wanted to conclude with Serbia. Instead, a more limited cooperation accord is to be sealed this week between the two sides.

"If Serbia grasps the EU's outstretched hand with the signing of a political accord on 7 February, the country will thereby confirm its prospect of a European future, including all the conditions that this entails," Verhagen said.

Verhagen reiterated the Dutch conditions for Serbia's EU membership, saying the most important step is that "Serbia fully cooperates with the Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague" and " extradition of General Mladic to The Hague is the best evidence ofthis".

Verhagen said the Netherlands realizes how great an impact the Kosovo issue has on Serbian politics.

"The Netherlands is confident that the re-elected president will take a constructive approach and avoid doing anything that would increase tensions," he said.

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