The arrest of Serbian war criminal fugitive Ratko Mladic has been hailed by leading political figures in Europe and the U.S.

The British Foreign Secretary William Hague described the arrest a historic moment for the western Balkans.

We now look forward to the rapid transfer of Ratko Mladic to The Hague so that the charges against him can be heard in an international court of law, Hague said.

Hague added: Today our thoughts are with the relatives of those killed during the siege of Sarajevo and genocide in Srebrenica. We congratulate the Serbian authorities on this arrest, which is evidence of the Serbian government's commitment to co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Mladic has likely committed the most appalling war crimes.

There is a very good reason why the long arm of the international law has been looking for this man for such a long time, he added.

The UK Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said the arrest reflected that no one can evade justice.

I think it sends an important message that however much you hide and however much you run the long arm of the law will find you,” Alexander said.

There have been many people over many, many years who have been working for this outcome and I think we owe it to the victims of the terrible massacres in Srebrenica and Sarajevo that he now faces the full force of international law. It does, I think, remove one of the significant obstacles, perhaps the most significant obstacle, preventing Serbia being able to move towards a securer European future.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Patty Ashdown, who was High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina between 2002 and 2007, said Mladic’s arrest and trial will offer a chance for the whole Balkan region to put the past behind them.

Conservative MP Bob Stewart, who was a commander of UN troops in Bosnia in 1992, told the BBC: It is very, very important that this man Mladic is brought to The Hague quickly, the trial starts quickly, the trial is expeditious in dealing with the matter and, actually, at the end of it justice prevails.

Other voices across the world echoed such sentiments.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated:[The arrest] is very good news and it is a very courageous decision by the Serbian president. It is one more step towards Serbia's integration one day into the European Union.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called the arrest a “historic day for international justice. It marks an important step in our will to end impunity. I thank the Serbian government and president for their efforts.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser in the U.S., declared: The United States is delighted to hear the announcement of the Serbian government that they have captured Ratko Mladic. We look forward to an expeditious transfer to the tribunal in The Hague.

European Commission Chief Jose Manuel Barroso said he strongly welcomes Mladic’s arrest, noting it was a key demand by for Serbia’s proposed membership into the EU.

This is an important step forward for Serbia and for international justice,” he said.

“I congratulate [Serbian] President [Boris] Tadic and Serbia's government for this courageous action. I expect Ratko Mladic to be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia without delay. Full co-operation with the ICTY remains essential on Serbia's path towards EU membership.

Mladic, who commanded the Bosnian Serb army in the early 1990, was the last prominent fugitive from the Bosnian war. He has been accused for atrocities, including the mass murder of 8000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.

He was indicted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal in Hague in 1995, but has remained at large all these years.

President Tadic has said Mladic will not be extradited to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague in Netherlands.