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Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic shot dead

Belgrade-Pristina dialogue terminated after prominent opposition figure killed outside his office in Mitrovica.

Oliver Ivanovic

Top Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic died at a local hospital in Kosovo's Mitrovica city on Tuesday morning after an unknown gunman shot him five times outside his office.

Ivanovic, who was the leader of the civic initiative, Freedom, Democracy and Justice (SDP), succumbed to the chest wounds, the chief prosecutor of the prosecutor's office in Mitrovica told the local media.

Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci strongly condemned the murder in a statement published on his social media account, urging Mitrovica residents to cooperate with police.

The director of Serbia's government office for Kosovo, Marko Djuric, told the Serbian Tanjug news agency that Ivanovic's killing was "an act of terrorism".

"This is an attack against the entire Serbian people, a criminal and terrorist act that must and will be punished," Djuric, who was in Brussels attending a talk, told Tanjug.

Moderate voice

About 40,000-50,000 ethnic Serbs live in northern Kosovo, rejecting integration with the mainly Albanian state since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Relations between Serbia and Kosovo have been tense since 2008, but in 2013 both parties agreed to participate in EU-sponsored negotiations on normalising relations, a condition for both to progress on their way towards membership in the bloc.

Ivanovic lived in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica.

Known as a moderate among Kosovo Serb politicians, Ivanovic had been one of the chief interlocutors for NATO, United Nations and European Union officials based in Kosovo after the war.

In 2016, he was found guilty of war crimes linked to the killings of four ethnic Albanians during the war and was jailed for nine years. But after a retrial was ordered he was released last year and allowed to defend himself while free.


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