News 07 Dec 12

Serb Ambassador Killed Himself Following Fatal Diagnosis

Branislav Milinkovic's wife said he committed suicide shortly after being dignosed with a grave illness whose outcome was uncertain.

Bojana Barlovac

Sanja Milinkovic, wife of the Serbian ambassador to NATO who killed himself in Brussels on Tuesday, said her husband had recently been diagnosed with a grave illness whose outcome was uncertain.

"Branko [Branislav] could not deal with the fact of living the rest of his life in a state unworthy of a man, as he put it," Sanja Milinkovic told the daily newspaper Kurir. She did not explain the precise nature of her husband's medical condition.

Branislav Milinkovic killed himself at the airport in Brussels on Tuesday where he was meeting Serbian officials arriving for talks at NATO headquarters.

After the delegation arrived, as they walked over to their cars in the diplomatic garage Milinkovic suddenly strolled to a barrier, climbed over it and jumped.

Emergency services were called to the scene but were not able to revive Milinkovic. Serbian journalists said Milinkovic had appeared normal during the day, talking and chatting with them as they covered a NATO foreign ministers meeting.

His wife said that Milinkovic had agreed to go on sick leave after the visit of the Serbian delegation.

"At one point, fear that exhaustion would prevent him from being able to meet the high demands of the profession and position prevailed," Sanja Milinkovic said.

Ms Milinovic, who is herself a diplomat, at OSCE in Vienna, was seeing her husband on weekends. They last met over the first weekend of December and she recalled that he was not nearly as cheerful as before.

She was informed of the news of her husband's death in Dublin and immediately went to Brussels. The couple had a six-year-old son.

Serbia's Foreign Ministry recalled a respected diplomat and lawyer who had served in Vienna and Brussels.

"He remains in the memory of his colleagues as a skilled diplomat, a versatile scholar and a noble man," the Ministry said.

Milinkovic, a lawyer by training, was appointed ambassador to NATO in 2009. Earlier, he was a special envoy to NATO. Before that, he was a Permanent Representative to the OSCE and the United Nations.

He is the author of numerous publications on international relations, human rights and security. He was the editor of magazines "International Politics" and "European Legislation".

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