A prominent ethnic Serb politician in the Kosovo town of Mitrovica was shot dead outside his apartment on Thursday.
Dimitrije Janicijevic, 35, was gunned down by unidentified assailants. The young politician is a newly elected municipal assembly member in Mitrovica North.
Mr. Janicijevic ran for mayor of Mitrovica in 2013 in the first municipal elections in Kosovo’s mainly Serb north. However the young politician Janicijevic lost the Mitrovica mayoral race to Belgrade-backed candidate Krstimir Pantic.
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga believed the murder was an attempt to stop the work of the Kosovo institutions in giving citizens rule of law.
US Condemns Murder Of Dimitrije Janicijevic
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the US joins the Government of Kosovo and its international partners in condemning the murder of Dimitrije Janicijevic.
Ms. Psaki highlighted that the United States underscores its enduring support for both Kosovo and Serbia in fully implementing the EU-facilitated April 19 agreement on normalization of relations including establishing legitimate, democratic, and effective institutions and strengthening rule of law in northern Kosovo.
“We extend our condolences to the Janicijevic family and call on Kosovo’s authorities to pursue a thorough, expeditious investigation and to bring those responsible to justice.” – Ms. Psaki
Ms. Psaki also urged all communities and political parties in Kosovo to work together to defuse tensions and respect the democratic will of the people.
Serbia lost control over its southern province in 1999, when NATO bombed the province for 11 weeks to stop the massacre and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces.
US Strongly Supports Kosovo’s EU Aspirations
The United States is looking forward to seeing both Serbia and Kosovo continue on their paths toward full cooperation and European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
In February 2012, Serbia and Kosovo reached an important agreement at EU-facilitated Dialogue that will pave the way for Serbia’s gaining official “candidate” status to join the European Union. The agreement underlines conditions under which Kosovo can be represented at regional fora and a technical protocol on Integrated Border Management.
Kosovo was given the chance to sit at the table in regional fora as an equal partner, representing and speaking for itself.
The United States supports the aspirations of both countries to achieve lasting peace and prosperity and to complete their European integration.
On September 2011, Serbia’s President told the General Assembly’s annual general debate that Serbia cannot accept Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. President Boris Tadic stressed that it will also not abandon the negotiations process between Belgrade and Pristina.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, but Serbia does not recognize the declaration.