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Ahtisaari Hopes Mladic Arrest Will Strengthen Kosovo Independence

Former President Martti Ahtisaari hopes that the arrest of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic on war crimes charges will help strengthen Kosovo’s claim to independence. He is particularly hopeful that the arrest could herald a warming of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

Martti Ahtisaari Image: Valdrin Xhemaj / EPA

“The arrest of Ratko Mladic hopefully marks a new beginning in Serbian relations with its neighbors,” said Ahtisaari in a statement released on his Crisis Management Initiative organisation’s website. “I do hope that we can now witness a new attitude toward the independent state of Kosovo.”

Ahtisaari, who won the Nobel Peace prize in 2008, had a significant role in Kosovo’s declaration of independence in the same year. Russia and several other European countries – including Serbia – have not yet recognized Kosovo’s independence.

Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb also welcomed the arrest.

"We are witnessing a historic milestone for the western Balkans and for Serbia," said Stubb.