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Kosovo Serb Politician Shot Dead

  • VOA News

Police officers secure the scene where Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was murdered in front of his office in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Jan. 16, 2018.

Prominent Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was shot dead Tuesday outside his party office in the northern town of Mitrovica, raising ethnic tensions in the region and halting EU-mediated talks between Kosovo and Serbia on the day they were due to resume.

Police officials say gunmen firing from a car shot the 64-year-old Ivanovic as he arrived at his party headquarters. They say a burnt-out car was found that was presumably used in the attack.

The killing came the same day Serbia and Kosovo were due to resume negotiations in Brussels on normalizing ties. After the shooting, Serbia withdrew from the meeting.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini condemned the killing in phone calls with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, and said she expects authorities to find and punish the perpetrators.

Vucic also called an emergency session of his national security council.

Marko Djuric, the Serbian official in charge of Kosovo, called Ivanovic's killing an act of terrorism against "the entire Serbian people."

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after NATO airstrikes drove out Serbian forces accused of expelling and killing ethnic Albanian civilians in a two-year counterinsurgency.