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Assassination of Serbian Prime Minister

Assassination of Serbian Prime Minister

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC March 12, 2003

I was shocked and saddened by the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic of Serbia, who died earlier today after being shot in Belgrade. I want to extend the deepest condolences of the United States to his family, his friends, and to the government and people of Serbia.

Prime Minister Djindjic's fearless leadership was instrumental in ending the terrible and despotic regime of Slobodan Milosevic and peacefully restoring democratic rule. I met with him many times and came to know him and admire his courage and wisdom. His courageous decision to transfer Milosevic to The Hague to stand trial for his alleged war crimes played a crucial role in helping Serbia come to terms with and move beyond its recent past. He promoted the economic and political reforms necessary for Serbia's integration into Europe and spoke out against extremism in all forms. He courageously initiated a public campaign to combat organized crime, which threatens every institution in Serbian society. I count myself as privileged to know him as a friend and as Prime Minister. All of us will miss him.

We are confident that Serbia's political leaders will continue Prime Minister Djindjic's vital work. The United States remains committed to helping Serbia undertake the economic and democratic reforms that will lead it toward a brighter and more prosperous future within Europe. [End]

Released on March 12, 2003

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