14 March 2003

General Assembly President Expresses Shock, Sadness on Death of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic

NEW YORK, 13 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of today's statement by the President of the General Assembly, Jan Kavan (Czech Republic):

I would like to express my deep shock and sadness at learning of the assassination of His Excellency Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of Serbia. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Government and people of Serbia, and to Mr. Djindjic's family, in their loss. I feel personally very strongly about this and share the pain caused by this cruel act, as Zoran was a friend of mine and a former fellow human rights dissident. I worked with him when we were both dissidents, as well as when he continued in his opposition to the Milosevic regime and I was a Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and lastly when we were both in top government positions and endeavoured to work for a democratic Central Europe as our contribution to better conditions in Europe and the world.

A violent act, deplorable as it is in itself, is particularly so when perpetrated against a democratically elected head of government. I firmly believe that this act of political violence should in no way stop the progress that Serbia has made in the process of democratization, of reform, and international cooperation. I perceive it also as a challenge to us all and as a reminder that we have to continue to help to consolidate democratic forces throughout the world.

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