The head of military intelligence in Serbia and Montenegro has said war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic was at times sheltered by the army up to 2002.
His comments to a Belgrade newspaper were the first official acknowledgement that the Serbian military had helped the wanted general.
Earlier this week, the head of Serbia's security agency said the authorities lost track of Gen Mladic in 2002.
Gen Mladic is wanted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
He was indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague in 1995.
Gen Svetko Kovac told the newspaper Blic that "until 2002, Gen Ratko Mladic was in his house at the address everyone knows. The army occasionally offered him hospitality in its installations".
He said the arrangement ended in 2002 after which "we lost all trace of Mladic".
He said the military intelligence service continued to receive reports that Gen Mladic was hiding on military bases, but none of these could be confirmed.
He also said military intelligence was in "no way involved in any current negotiations with Mladic" on his surrender, as some media have reported.
Belgrade is under increased international pressure to arrest Gen Mladic and former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic before 11 July - the 10th anniversary of the massacre of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica.
The US has said it will resume aid to Serbia amid an expectation that Gen Mladic will soon be in custody.
Serbia and Montenegro has surrendered more than a dozen war crimes suspects in the past six months.