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Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn today received Ms. Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. At a joint press conference with Ms. Del Ponte following the meeting, Prime Minister Juncker made the following declarations:
(Translation) "Together with the Foreign Minister, I had the pleasure to receive in Luxembourg Ms. Del Ponte. The Minister and myself are currently preparing the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 17 March, the day on which negotiations with Croatia are scheduled to start. The Council will have to verify, whether Croatia cooperates in a full and entire way with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. I wanted to talk with Mrs. Del Ponte to assess the state of affairs. We, the 25 EU Member States and the Luxembourg Presidency, believe that Croatia will have to prove that it is cooperating in a full and entire way with the Tribunal before 17 March. The assessment of the GAERC will largely depend on the appraisal of Mrs Del Ponte."
(Original) "The moment we are in is not a moment to have a final assessment concerning the intensity of the efforts made by the Croatian authorities."
(Original) "I have been informed by Mrs Del Ponte of her impressions and in due time before the meeting of 21 February, the meeting of the Foreign Ministers, we will have a final assessment by Mrs Del Ponte, and it will be up to the Member States to make their final assessment. I have to add that I’m strongly convinced that the Prime Minister Sanader is eager to pay his best efforts in order to arrest General Gotovina if he is on Croatian territory. The Croatians themselves have to know that, according to my view, Mr Gotovina is playing a dangerous game. If he is in Croatia, he should be ready to be arrested and transferred to The Hague, because he doesn’t have the right to take millions of Croatians as hostages. This is not a patriotic behaviour. If Mr. Gotovina is the patriot he is claiming to be, he has to make everything possible in order to enable the EU to start the enlargement negotiations without any doubt in our minds?"
(Original) "If Mr Gotovina will be from now until the 17 March in The Hague, without any doubt, negotiations will start at that very moment. If he is not, we will have great difficulties, unless the Croatian authorities will prove that they have cooperated in a full and entire way with the Tribunal."
(Original) "There is one decision of the European Council of last December and that decision is clear. It has to be proven that Croatia is cooperating in a full and entire way with the Tribunal. That’s the only request oft the EU. And we have to check the situation against that request. I don’t have a plan A, B C, D. I have a plan A and it is written in the conclusions of the European Council."
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