June 22, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Two USAFE F-16 jets are to visit a Serbian army airport later this week as part of increased military cooperation, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry described the F-16s' visit to Batajnica airport as a "historic" event - it will be the first time that American fighter planes have landed at a Serbian military airport.
Military ties between the United States and Serbia have improved since the ouster in 2000 of former President Slobodan Milosevic. Ever since, Belgrade's new authorities have sought to establish closer ties with NATO
and the West.
Belgrade's inclusion in NATO's Membership For Peace program - a first step toward eventual membership - hinges, however, on the arrest of another war crimes suspect: Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic.