Serbia’s President Boris Tadic has just announced the arrest of accused war criminal Radko Mladic. During my time as U.S. Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro and then the Republic of Serbia from 2004-2007, I did all I could for this day to come. This is the news that the victims and the families of the victims of the worst autrocities in post-war Europe have been waiting for. This could also be the break for Serbia’s future that so many of the Serbian people have been waiting for. During my time in Belgrade, I found most of the Serbian people on the side of justice and for their country to finally be able to move forward. I reassured them then that the United States wanted to be supportive of a Serbia integrated into the web of Euro-Atlantic relationships.
With Maldic now hopefully being readied for transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, this is also another opportunity for Serbia to take a new approach to its other remaining obstacle to seizing a better tomorrow – its relationship with its neighbor Kosovo. A positive and constructive relationship with Kosovo that accepts the reality, however unhappily, of Kosovo’s independence, would also allow Serbia at last to look to the future, rather than the grievances of the past. For the sake of all my Serbian friends who have waited long enough for a better tomorrow, I hope they are given the chance to seize it now.