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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. They said he seemed to be going about his regular business, picking up an arriving delegation of six Serbian officials who were due to
Originally posted by Skada
I have a feeling that more of these types of stories are going to be in the news.
He was transferred to Nato as Serbia's special representative in 2004. Serbia is not a member of the military alliance, but Mr Milinkovic was named ambassador after Belgrade joined Nato's Partnership for Peace programme, which groups neutral states.
The move had angered Serbian nationalists who are now in power. They have pledged the nation will never join because of Nato's 1999 bombing campaign, during which it forced Milosevic's forces to withdraw from Serbia's southern province of Kosovo.
Milinkovic was at the Brussels airport to receive Serbian Deputy Foreign Minister Zoran Vujicm, who was due in the Belgian capital for NATO talks along with other officials.
After the delegation arrived, they walked through the parking lot to their cars, and Milinkovic suddenly broke from the group, walked over to the barrier and jumped, an anonymous official said.
“I met with him [Milinkovic] yesterday afternoon, I didn’t notice anything strange, he seemed in a perfectly good mood,” an anonymous source told Italian publication La Stampa.
“I knew him well, this doesn’t make any sense, it’s totally inexplicable.”
With Croatia on the threshold of EU membership, and along with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia headed for NATO too, the day when Balkan countries will have an important influence on Western security policies is fast approaching.
Although it’s nearly a decade and a half since the Dayton Accord that brought peace to the region, and ten years since NATO intervened over Kosovo, dangerous tensions persist. How great is the risk that old enmities and rivalries between Balkan newcomers to the EU and of NATO will spill over into wider policy areas?
The argument for stabilizing Balkan countries through integration into the EU and NATO remains strong, but with Euro-American relations still badly scarred by last year’s disagreements over the advisability of Georgian and Ukrainian NATO membership, how deep are the pitfalls?