BRUSSELS, January 16. /TASS/. The NATO-led KFOR mission will continue to guarantee a safe and secure environment throughout Kosovo following the murder of one of the Kosovo Serb leaders Oliver Ivanovic, NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu told TASS.
When asked if NATO planned to strengthen the KFOR mission, she said that "KFOR continues to guarantee a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout Kosovo, under the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244."
"NATO condemns the murder of Oliver Ivanovic. We urge all parties to exercise restraint to defuse tensions, and allow the judicial authorities to carry out a full investigation," Lungescu added.
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. This is critical for regional peace and security."
Earlier on Tuesday, Serbia suspended talks with Kosovo. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called an emergency meeting of the national Security Council and after than addressed the nation, slamming the murder as an act of terror and an attack on the entire Serbian people. Director of Serbia's government office for Kosovo Marko Juric said that the Serbian delegation is breaking off technical dialogue with Pristina’s representatives and returning to Belgrade from Brussels.
Ivanovic, the leader of the Freedom, Democracy, Justice political party, was shot in Kosovska Mitrovica on Tuesday morning, while entering the party’s office. He was taken to hospital but doctors failed to save his life.
Ivanovic, one of the leaders of Kosovo Serbs, used to serve as a state secretary at the Serbian ministry for the affairs of Kosovo and Metohija. In January 2014, he and four other Serbs were sent to prison on charges of committing military crimes against the Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohija in 1999 and 2000. In August 2015, Ivanovic went on a hunger strike and had to be transferred to a hospital due to his failing health. On January 21, 2016, he was sentenced to nine years behind bars
In February 2017, his conviction was overturned and the case was sent back for a retrial. Ivanovic was put under house arrest but in April 2017 he was allowed to defend himself in court while remaining at large.