Statement by Catherine Ashton High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy

19 shtator 2013

19 September 2013

"At approximately 0730 this morning, two EULEX vehicles, carrying six staff members (Greek, Danish, Bulgarian, Croatian, Lithuanian and Czech), on regular rotation from Gate 1 in northern Kosovo came under fire from unknown person or persons in the vicinity of Municipality Zvecan.

The incident resulted in the death of one EULEX staff member, of Lithuanian nationality. This is a case that falls under the exclusive competence of the SPRK. Task Force Mitrovica, acting under the auspices of SPRK, was immediately activated and a murder investigation is ongoing. The crime scene has been sealed off.

I am shocked at the callous nature of the murder of this morning. I condemn in the strongest terms possible this act of cowardly violence against our staff members. Our EULEX staff member was a Customs Officer dedicated to ensuring the stability of Kosovo, and contributing to the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. He was young man who leaves behind a wife and family. Our hearts go out to them, to whom we offer our deepest condolences.

Currently this is a mixed investigation between Kosovo Police and EULEX police. I also appreciate the offers of assistance from colleagues in Belgrade. No effort will be spared in bringing the perpetrator or per to justice.

I would like to thank KFOR for its assistance, and the medical staff in Mitrovica.

We appeal to the local community that anyone who has been a witness, or knows anything about this incident to come forward and contact us."

"We were shocked by what happened this morning with the attack on EULEX that resulted in murder of our colleague, a member of our family here in Kosovo.

An attack on EULEX is an attack on the European Union values and on everything that we as the European Union stand for, including peace, security and the rule of law.

EULEX is not a lifeless word. There are women and men behind this word. Women and men who left their families to serve the EU and Kosovo, to do something good for the people here and to make this part of the region a better place. Their sacrifice is enormous and to attack such brave individuals is repulsive.

We will have to wait for investigation to reveal the perpetrators and bring them to justice. But it is obvious from such an act that there are still interests that do not want the situation in the North and in Kosovo to normalize.

There should absolutely be no space for violence. Political process should not be deterred by violence. This tragic death should unite everybody in Kosovo, Serbs and Albanians, North and South, as well as Kosovo and Serbia to reject in most clear and decisive way once and for all any form of violence and to stand firm in their path that started with April 19th agreement.

Those who planned and executed such coward attack should be warned that we are strengthened in our determination to continue our engagement with Kosovo, with its dialogue with Serbia and that we are determined to continue bringing normal life to people in Kosovo."

"I was deeply saddened by the death of the Lithuanian member of EULEX staff in northern Kosovo this morning.

I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack that led to the death of the staff member. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.

The European Union is determined to continue its engagement and commitment in Kosovo and will press on with its work in the context of the EU-facilitated dialogue.

I appeal to all parties to redouble their efforts to implement the agreements reached, to normalize relations and to improve the lives of the people on the ground in northern Kosovo."