Officials: Serbia’s NATO ambassador leaps to death



DUSAN STOJANOVIC | AP

Published — Wednesday 5 December 2012

Last update 5 December 2012 6:32 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BRUSSELS: Serbia’s ambassador to NATO was chatting and joking with colleagues in a parking garage at Brussels Airport when he suddenly strolled to a barrier, climbed over and flung himself to the ground below, a diplomat said.
By the time his shocked colleagues reached him, Branislav Milinkovic was dead.
His motives are a mystery. Three diplomats who knew Milinkovic said he did not appear distraught in the hours leading up to his death Tuesday night. He seemed to be going about his regular business, picking up an arriving delegation of six Serbian officials who were due to hold talks with NATO, the alliance that went to war with his country just 13 years ago.
A former author and activist opposed to the authoritarian regime of Serbia’s former strongman Slobodan Milosevic, he was a respected diplomat and leading intellectual, officials said.
The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details, said they knew of no circumstances — private or professional — that would have prompted him to take his own life.
One of the diplomats described the death to The Associated Press, saying she had spoken to a member of the delegation who had witnessed the leap from the 8- to 10-meter-high (26- to 33-foot-high) platform.
The diplomats all spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted by foreign service regulations to speak publicly to the press.
Speaking in Brussels, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said that “Belgian police are investigating, but it’s obviously a suicide. It’s hard to figure out the motives or causes.”
The death cast a pall on the second day of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Officials said they were shocked by the news of the death of a very popular and well-liked ambassador.
“NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Serbian ambassador,” alliance spokeswoman Carmen Romero said. “Milinkovic was a highly respected representative of his country and will be missed at NATO headquarters.”
During the 1990s, Milinkovic was active in the opposition to Milosevic. After he was ousted in 2000, Milinkovic was appointed Serbia’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, or OSCE, in Vienna.
He was transferred to NATO as Serbia’s special representative in 2004. Serbia is not a member of the military alliance, but Milinkovic was named ambassador after Belgrade joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, which groups neutral states.
The move to join the NATO program had angered Serbian nationalists who are now in power. They have pledged the nation will never join because of its 1999 bombing campaign, during which it forced Milosevic’s forces to withdraw from Serbia’s southern province of Kosovo.
Milinkovic is survived by his wife and 17-year-old son.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

Huge projects change the faces of cities and great ambitions help create such projects. Madinah had its date with a quantum leap to usher in a new era of urban development. Such huge projects help achieve formidable civilization advancements and sign...
RIYADH: The Japanese ambassador to the Kingdom, Noriheiro Okoda, has held a meeting with Hashem Abdullah Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), and discussed bilateral cooperation in the fields of atom...
AL-BAHA: Forty three percent of Al-Baha cannot be developed easily because of the region’s mountainous terrain.This is the view of Khaled Al-Sayegh, undersecretary for construction at the municipality, who was speaking at an event held at the College...
JEDDAH: An official at the Council of Saudi Chambers said the council’s members are discussing a regulation to submit to the Ministry of Labor and other government agencies to deny a number of privileges to companies that force its labor to work unde...
ABHA: With many families wanting new furniture during Ramadan, furniture and interior decorating shops are raising prices to more than double what they were before the month.Homeowner Zaina Mohammed says she used to change her home furniture every Ra...
RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman described the first visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to Madinah as “historic.”In his comments following the visit which saw th...
MADINAH: Economists expected the volume of investments in Madinah’s economies during the coming few years to reach SR500 billion.The forecasted growth in the population, to reach 2.6 million people after 25 years, and the number of visitors to 12.2 m...
JEDDAH: It seems that many Saudi families are gradually coming to terms with the new reality of living in apartments, as building villas is not possible due to shortage of appropriate land.With the increasing display of housing units by the Ministry...
RIYADH: Migrant rights advocacy group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) has lambasted their country’s leadership over the claim that the number of overseas Filipino workers are declining due to sustained economic growth in the Philippines.The group has cal...
RIYADH: A charitable foundation called “Smile” will be launched on Sunday night at the Al-Hokair Land in the Saudi capital to make people happy. “The foundation will be launched to make Saudi Arabia a center of smiles,” well-known television host and...
MAKKAH: The Kingdom has seen a sharp rise in the number of Umrah pilgrims to around 6 million from 1.5 million in the last 16 years. Moreover, the number of pilgrims overstaying their visas has come down to about 1 percent. The Ministry of Haj has be...
RIYADH: The King Khalid Foundation (KKF) said here recently that it has financed small enterprises (SMEs) run by 130 widows in some of the Kingdom’s provinces.KKF hosted an iftar party last week for local media at its headquarters in Riyadh at which...
JEDDAH: Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, governor of the Northern Borders province, has died.He will be buried after Taraweeh prayers in Jeddah on Saturday, the Royal Court said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. No other det...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...

Stay Connected

Facebook