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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 14:00 GMT
Balkan horror at Djindjic death
The assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic has caused shock and revulsion in Serbia and beyond.

The Serbian Government issued a statement accusing organised criminals of responsibility for the killing. The following are quotations from leading officials in the region.

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic

This criminal act is an absolutely clear attempt... to change the course of history and isolate Serbia yet again, and transform it into a kingdom of criminal groups.

BKTV, Belgrade

Former President Vojislav Kostunica

The first word that comes to mind is: "Terrible". 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 the real democratisation of our society... 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.

BKTV, Belgrade

Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic

Today, a man was killed, the prime minister of Serbia was killed, Zoran Djindjic was killed, a man of reforms and democracy in Serbia. Zoran Djindjic was killed in a terrorist action. The one who fired the shots knew how to shoot at the symbol of democracy, reforms, and a European Serbia. As a man, I am struck by this tragedy. As a politician and a statesman, I feel a great loss with the end of life of a man whose contribution to the democratic movement of creating a state union of Serbia and Montenegro was priceless.

Belgrade RTS SAT Television

Serbian Return Coalition (Kosovo Serbs) official Dragisa Krstovic

This is the most tragic thing that could have happened. Democracy and the struggle for a better future have been killed.

BETA independent news agency, Belgrade

UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] chief Michael Steiner

I condemn the attack that is directed against the democratic process in Serbia and the brutal attack on the democratically elected head of the government.

BETA agency, Belgrade

Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi's ethnic communities adviser Adem Demaci

The assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic represents not only a loss for the Serbs, but also for Albanians, because he realized the reality in this destructive region of the former Yugoslavia.

Beta news agency, Belgrade

Chairman of the pro-reform party G17, Miroljub Labus

The Serbian Government needs to be given full support to ensure institutions function normally and the perpetrators of this heinous crime have to be quickly uncovered and punished.

FoNet news agency, Belgrade

Croatian President Stjepan Mesic

I harshly condemn the terrorist act which today ended the life of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. I hope that this mindless act will not have permanent negative consequences for Serbia's stability, namely the stability of the state community of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as the situation in the wider region. Serbia had difficult moments during the Milosevic dictatorship and we expected its path towards a modern, democratic Europe to be faster. This assassination slows down the Serbian path to democracy.

Croatian news agency Hina

Bosnian Presidency chairman Mirko Sarovic

It could have consequences for the entire region. This brutal murder was yet another warning that organised crime is a regional problem.

Croatian news agency Hina

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Janet Barrie
"He has no obvious successor"

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