Annan, UN 'shocked and saddened' by Serb premier's assassination

Annan, UN 'shocked and saddened' by Serb premier's assassination

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Secretary General Kofi Annan and other officials throughout the United Nations system today deplored the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

"The Secretary-General was shocked and saddened this morning to learn of the assassination," spokesman Fred Eckhard said in a statement. He "deplores this act of political violence marring the process of democratic normalization in Serbia and trusts that the perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice. He extends his condolences to the Premier's family and to the people of Serbia."

In Kosovo, the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), Michael Steiner, released a statement condemning the "brutal act."

"I am deeply and personally shocked," Mr. Steiner said. "I condemn this attack, which is also against the democratic process in Serbia. This was a brutal act against a democratically elected head of government. I have known and worked with Zoran Djindjic for the last decade and held him in high personal esteem."

For their part, members of the Security Council urged that the perpetrators of this "cowardly crime" be brought to justice as quickly as possible. "As a leading Serbian politician during the last decade he contributed enormously to the democratization of his country," the 15-nation body said in a press statement read by its President, Ambassador Mamady Traoré of Guinea.

They also expressed their support for and confidence in the people of Serbia "in this difficult time," the Council President said.

Meanwhile, General Assembly President Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic expressed his shock and sadness at the killing. "President Kavan deplores this violent act against a democratically elected head of government," an Assembly spokesman said in a statement.