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Serbian ambassador to NATO makes the leap of the angel (maj)

Branislav Milinkovic (left) with Serbian President Boris Tadic (centre) and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (right) at Serbia's admission to the Partnership for Peace Alliance in December 2006 (credit: NATO)

(BRUSSELS2) The death of an ambassador in public is rare. When it comes to an ambassador to NATO it is more surprising, especially in the middle of a NATO ministerial meeting. And until this morning, the information of the fatal fall of a man at Brussels-Zaventem airport seemed more likely to be filed among the news items than in the defense policy department. Our colleague La Derniere Heure had announced yesterday the death “after a fall in the diplomatic parking lot of the airport” of a man around 17:15 p.m., without being able to specify whether it was a suicide (read here). It is the Serbian media, in particular the daily Blic, who first made the connection with Branislav Milinkovic (Milinković), the Serbian ambassador to NATO.

From the top of the diplomatic parking lot at Brussels airport

Milinkovic was not there at the airport by chance. But on a completely official mission to welcome the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zoran Vujic, responsible for security policy and relations with NATO. According to diplomats present on site, it was after welcoming the minister that he committed the act. “ He walked towards the barrier and climbed over it.". He fell about ten meters. Despite the rapid presence of emergency services on site, nothing could be done to resuscitate him. " He died instantly » specifies the airport spokesperson. Secretary General AF Rasmussen paid tribute to the memory of the diplomat, saying “ very touched by (this) tragic death ". " He had aroused the admiration of his colleagues. He will be missed here at NATO Headquarters " he added.

Reason: suicide...

The causes of his death still remain unclear. Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said he was informed overnight. " The Belgian police investigation is ongoing. But obviously it was suicide. he clarified, adding “What are the motives, for what reasons, it’s difficult to know.  » At Alliance HQ, Secretary General AF Rasmussen refused to go further than a laconic: “ I have no further information on this tragic death.”

Aged 52, Milinkovic opened Serbia's mission to the Atlantic Alliance in 2006 when it joined the Alliance's “Partnership for Peace” and had previously served as ambassador for his country (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). then Serbia and Montenegro to the OSCE in Vienna and the United Nations. In an article published in 1996 in the Helsinki Monitor “.The OSCE and the Federal republic of Yugoslavia: Opportunities and challenges“, he pleaded in particular for the end of the suspension of the OSCE of his country. by all accounts, in the corridors of the Alliance, he had left an excellent memory.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).