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The World | IN BRIEF / SERBIA-MONTENEGRO

Extraditions Aren't Top Priority, Official Says

February 22, 2004|From Times Wire Reports

Serbia's prime minister-designate said sending suspects to the U.N. war crimes tribunal would not be his top priority, defying U.S. threats to cut aid to the Balkan republic.

Vojislav Kostunica said Serbia has more important issues to deal with -- like simmering social tensions and a ruined economy. "This country is not a simple deliverer of human goods to The Hague tribunal," he said.

His comments are likely to anger the U.S., which says Serbia must hand over war crimes suspects to receive $100 million in aid and other support. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is to decide by March 31 whether Serbia deserves the aid.

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