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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 18:39 GMT
Djindjic killing condemned
Politicians and leaders around the world have expressed their shock and sorrow at the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic on Wednesday.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana:

"I am deeply shocked by the criminal attack against Prime Minister Djindjic.

Zoran Djindjic
Djindjic was described as a "friend of Europe"
"It is a tragedy. I knew Zoran Djindjic very well and worked with him a lot.

"He was a personal friend and a friend of Europe.

"I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms.

"Violence of this kind has no place whatsoever in a democratic society.

"This criminal and cowardly act should be fully investigated and those responsible brought to justice."

Ari Fleischer, spokesman for US President George W Bush:

"Prime Minister Djindjic will be remembered for his role in bringing democracy to Serbia and for his role in bringing Slobodan Milosevic to justice."

Croatian President Stipe Mesic:

"I voice the strongest possible condemnation of the terrorist act which ended the life of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic today.

"I hope that this mindless act will not have any permanent negative effects on the stability of Serbia, that is Serbia and Montenegro, as well as on the situation in the region.

"But it is also a call to the Serbian authorities to step up their fight against corruption, which is not only threatening the economy and society of Serbia but also neighbouring countries."

Deputy chairman of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), Dusan Bajatovic:

"Assassinations are certainly not solutions for problems.

"If assassination of a prime minister takes place in a country, then a question should certainly be posed as to whether any citizen of this country is safe.

"We have to think very thoroughly about all of this taking place in our country.

"In simple words, something like this must not be repeated."

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and his Slovenian counterpart, Dimitrij Rupel in a joint statement:

"We are shocked and horrified.

"This crime was aimed not only against Djindjic as a person but also against democracy and stability in the region.

"This terrible signal from Belgrade must under no circumstances be allowed to hinder this process."

Former Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica:

"The fact that political violence is happening, not for the first time, is a terrible warning about how little headway we have made on the path of real democratisation of our society.

Former Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica (L) and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic (R)
Kostunica said the killers must be caught
"Zoran Djindjic and I disagree in many things, and we have mutual objections to so many things, from the political platform to methods being used.

"But the only important thing for me at the moment is that I condemn in the strongest possible terms any kind of terrorism, violence or the use of force in political and other conflicts.

"I am afraid that this is unfortunately another cruel warning that we must face up to the truth and see to what extent crime has infiltrated all aspects of our society.

"Of course, I hope that all perpetrators will be apprehended, and especially that we - both the government and the opposition - shall finally draw the line between what is and is not lawful.

"There is no room for compromise or bargaining here."

Chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte:

"Prime Minister Djindjic was our first supporter in the co-operation with this office of the tribunal.

"He worked very hard to help us.

"It was his work, because he did not hesitate when sometimes it was not easy for him politically.

"We lost our main, important point of connection for our activity, but as I said, I hope someone else will take his position.

"I lost a friend."

European Commission chief Romano Prodi:

"During this transitional phase of the country's history, the European Commission stands by Serbia's side.

"It will keep doing all it can to ease a reform process that is still under attack from violent anti-democratic and anti-liberal forces."

Nato Secretary General George Robertson:

"The attack on Mr Djindjic is an attack against all who want to break with the past.

"This is the desperate action by violent extremists who want to return to Milosevic authoritarianism.

"This tragedy demonstrates that anti-democratic forces and extremism are still active in Serbia."

The BBC's Jim Fish
"Djindjic's pro-western reforms may have provided one motive for his killing"

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