BELGRADE: The EU-mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels will be suspended until Serbia is satisfied with the result of an investigation into the murder of a Kosovan Serb leader, Oliver Ivanovic, a senior Serbian government official said on Tuesday night.
“The Brussels dialogue will not resume until Serbia’s questions regarding the murder are answered. We receive information every minute. We do not request, we demand that Serbian bodies find the murderers immediately,” said Marko Djuric, the director of the Serbian Government’s Office for Kosovo and Metohija.
He said the attackers targeted Serbia and its people, adding that Belgrade will demand participation in the ongoing investigation.
Djuric, who headed the Serbian delegation to the talks in Brussels, halted the technical dialogue with Kosovo shortly after the news about Ivanovic’s murder was made public.
Meanwhile, the head of the Kosovo delegation in Brussels, Avni Arifi, called on Belgrade to return to the negotiation table.
“I call on Belgrade to return to the negotiation process, because there is no alternative to dialogue,” the official was quoted as saying by the Tanjug news agency. “An incident like this should not slow down the negotiation process.”
Oliver Ivanovic, a leader of Kosovan Serbs and the head of the ‘Freedom, Democracy, Truth’ party was gunned down on Tuesday morning while entering his party’s office. The wounded politician was found by a neighbor who was returning from a shop. Ivanovic was rushed to a hospital in Kosovska Mitrovica with at least five gunshot wounds to the chest, but later succumbed to his injuries.
Representatives of international missions to Kosovo condemned Ivanovic’s murder and demanded bringing those responsible to justice as soon as possible. Russia said that the situation may bring about the atmosphere of terror and give rise to inter-ethnic conflicts in the region.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has already described Ivanovic’s murder as a terror attack against the entire people of Serbia.