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IN SHORT

Slovakia supports EU membership for Serbia

SPEAKING after meeting his Serbian counterpart Vojislav Kostunica in Bratislava on October 2, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that his country supports Serbia's membership in the EU and is willing to offer Belgrade the experience it has gained from its own EU-accession process.

Fico made the statement despite the fact that EU accession talks with Belgrade are currently out of the question because Serbia has failed to hand over former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladić to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The talks also focused on the approximately 60,000 ethnic Slovaks living in the Serbian province of Vojvodina. Fico thanked Kostunica for the way these ethnic Slovaks are treated. "This treatment is certainly a good example for Europe of how to live with ethnic minorities," Fico said.

The Slovak leader said that the Western Balkans remains a Slovak foreign policy priority.

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