Kosovo Serb politician killed in drive-by shooting

The murder of the Serb politician in the North strains relations between Kosovo and Serbia

Oliver Ivanovic, a prominent Kosovo Serb politician, was killed in a brazen drive-by shooting on Tuesday that could reignite ethnic tensions in the region.

"Serbs are more afraid of Serbs than Albanians", Ivanovic - a rare Kosovo Serb in that he spoke Albanian - said at the time.

According to the minister, many Ivanovic's friends who spoke with him lately noticed that he seemed anxious.

The doctors said Ivanovic had received at least five gunshot wounds to his upper torso.

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He said someone had dumped a burnt-out Opel Astra vehicle nearby to act as a red herring.

"I call on all Kosovo's justice institutions - especially now that police, prosecutors, and courts are integrated - to investigate this incident swiftly and professionally, and bring the perpetrators to justice", Delawie said. Serbia does not recognize the independence of its former province and the killing is likely to raise tensions between ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs in the region.

Vucic called an emergency meeting of his national security council to discuss the killing, national broadcaster RTS reported.

A Kosovo court convicted Mr Ivanovic of war crimes during the 1998-99 war. The verdict was overturned in February 2017.

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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.

Northern Mitrovica has a majority Serb population and has been administered independently from the rest of Kosovo as per the now pending European Union initiative to create the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo. The agenda included issues related to application of the agreements reached on establishing a commonwealth of Serbian municipalities, freedom of movement, integrated control over border checkpoints on the administrative line between Kosovo and Serbia, justice, energy sector.

Answering a question on how the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic could influence the dialog with Pristina, Juric said: "What can we talk about now?"

According to her, "NATO fully supports the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and calls for this dialogue to continue as soon as possible". A year ago his auto was found burned.

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Kosovo Prime-Minister Haradinaj condemned the criminal act, stating the Kosovo government is committed to ensure a safe environment for all its citizens.

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