"SAA not blocked by Hague, chance for Serbia"

"We are convinced the democratically elected leaders of Serbia, who wish to see Serbia in the European Union, will continue to work to the maximum in order to achieve and confirm full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal."

Guest: Cristina Gallach, Journalist: Ljubica Gojgić
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B92: What is the point of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, considering that its implementation is conditioned with full Hague cooperation?

Gallach: This agreement represents the most thorough relationship that we can have with Serbia before the process of joining the Union. This is a clear signal from the majority of the European Union members that we wish to see Serbia's future in Europe.

At the same time it is important to underscore that we at the European Union fully cooperate with international institutions, and we have no doubt that the democratically elected leaders in Serbia, those who are pro-European, will continue cooperation with international institutions, the Hague Tribunal included.

For this reason we emphasize the importance of this cooperation in the agreement, which has been fully accepted by all the leaders who came to Luxembourg for the signing.

B92: Has the so-called Hague condition in fact blocked this agreement, rendering it meaningless?

Gallach: Quite the opposite. The agreement has not been blocked. It came into force because it was signed by the European Union ministers. At the same time, we reached an agreement amongst ourselves, and with the Serbian leaders, that the Hague Tribunal cooperation is of key importance, so that all the measures will start being implemented when we have this full cooperation.

B92: In what way will Serbia's cooperation with the Tribunal be appraised?

Gallach: In their contacts with the Tribunal's officials the EU ministers will regularly appraise the progress of this cooperation. I wish to once again repeat that we are convinced the democratically elected leaders of Serbia, who wish to see Serbia in the European Union, will continue to work to the maximum in order to achieve and confirm full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.

B92: What does full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal entail? Will progress in cooperation suffice for the agreement to be ratified in European parliaments, or will all the fugitives have to be sent to The Hague?

Gallach: What must be done is to exert maximum effort in order to meet the Tribunal's conditions. I believe that this maximum effort that we wish to see is complete transparency; to see that everything is being done to make sure that people accused of horrific crimes in the past have a fair trial. In other words, if we see this maximum effort, Serbia will definitely continue to progress toward the EU institutions.

B92: What position does Brussels have on announcements coming from some Serbian parties that after the May 11 elections, the SAA will be annulled?

Gallach: The most important message that we can send to everyone, including the leaders of various parties, is that the EU's decision [to sign the agreement] was meant for whoever the people elect democratically. We believe that the offer was honest, for the whole Serbian people, and of course it is up to the Serbian leaders to decide what they'll do with it.

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