Serbia's ambassador to NATO jumps to death

Branislav Milinkovic jumps from multi-storey car park in Brussels in presence of other diplomats in apparent suicide.
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2012 19:16
Belgian authorities said no investigation was planned, as there was no doubt the envoy had committed suicide [AFP]

Serbia's ambassador to NATO has jumped to his death from a multi-storey carpark in Brussels airport, officials have said.

Serbian authorities said they were investigating Wednesday's incident, which was witnesses by several other diplomats.

Branislav Milinkovic, 52, was attending a conference of NATO foreign ministers, but officials did not make any connection between the meeting and his suicide.

"We are shocked and we are investigating all circumstances" surrounding the ambassador's death, said a Serbian Foreign Ministry official who asked not to be named.

"We have no clues about what could prompt Milinkovic to do that. He was a good man," the official said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's secretary-general, said that he was "deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Serbian ambassador", who was highly respected, said an alliance spokesperson.

Belgian authorities said that they were sure the death was a suicide, and so would not be investigating further.

"It was indeed a suicide," said Ine Van Wymersch of the Brussels prosecutor's office.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry praised Milinkovic as a distinguished diplomat and jurist who would be "remembered as a skilled diplomat, an intellectual and a noble man".

Milinkovic was appointed ambassador to NATO in 2009 but had already been based in Brussels since 2004 as an envoy from the now defunct state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

A former author and activist opposed to the authoritarian regime of Serbia's former president Slobodan Milosevic, Milinkovic was outgoing, had a warm sense of humour and worked to keep good ties with ambassadors from other former Yugoslav countries, according to diplomats and acquaintances.

The ambassador is survived by his wife and son.


Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Indonesia's digerati could be crucial to success in the country's upcoming presidential election.
How Brazil's football legend turned every Corinthians' match into a political meeting for democracy.
As the Pakistani army battles Taliban forces, civilians in North Waziristan face an arduous escape for relative safety.
Nepalese trade in a libido-boosting fungus is booming but experts warn over-exploitation could destroy ecosystem.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Consumption of traditional nutritional staples such as salmon, moose and bear has fallen in recent generations.
Palestinian families fear Israel's night-time air strikes, as the civilian death toll soars in the Gaza Strip.
join our mailing list