Nato envoy dies in apparent suicide

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iol news pic Branislav Milinkovic

REUTERS

Branislav Milinkovic, Serbia's ambassador to NATO, sits at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels December 14, 2006 in this handout photo released to Reuters on December 5, 2012. Milinkovic, 52, jumped to his death from a multi-storey carpark at Brussels airport, officials said on Wednesday, and Serbia said it was investigating the incident. REUTERS/NATO/Handout

Brussels/Belgrade -

The head of Serbia's mission to NATO has died, the country's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, with Serbian media reporting that he had committed suicide at Brussels airport.

NATO has its headquarters in the Belgian capital. Serbia is not a member of the military alliance, but has had a representation there since 2010 as a member of its Partnership for Peace.

Belgrade media reported that the ambassador, Branislav Milinkovic, committed suicide by leaping from a parking building at the airport. Unconfirmed reports said he killed himself in front of the Serbian assistant foreign minister, Zoran Vujic.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry said on its website that Milinkovic “tragically passed away in Brussels on December 4,” without providing further details.

A spokesman for the Zaventem airport, Jan van der Cruysse, confirmed that a man had died on Tuesday evening after falling “several floors” from a multi-floor parking structure.

Van Der Cruysse would not give the identity of the victim, but said there was nothing emergency services who responded to the incident could do to save his life.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had no details on the incident, but noted that he was “deeply saddened” by Milinkovic's death and offered condolences to his family.

“Ambassador Milinkovic was a highly respected representative of his country. As Serbia's ambassador to NATO, he earned the respect and admiration of his fellow ambassadors,” Rasmussen said in Brussels at the end of two days of talks by NATO foreign ministers.

“A wonderful diplomat who'll be greatly missed,” the United States' ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, said on Twitter. - Sapa-dpa


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