Serbs mark 1,000 days from killing of moderate Kosovo Serb politician

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BELGRADE (Reuters) - Hundreds of Serbs in Belgrade lit candles on Monday to mark 1,000 days since the killing of a moderate Kosovo Serb politician in January 2018 and to demand greater efforts to solve the crime.

Oliver Ivanovic was gunned down in front of his party office in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, a predominantly Serb area of mainly ethnic Albanian Kosovo.

Among those braving cold weather to light candles at St Marko church was Dragan Djilas, head of Serbia’s opposition centre-left Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP).

Djilas said Ivanovic had been ready “to fight for Serbia’s interests but also to communicate with Kosovo Albanians”.

“It is a disgrace that authorities in Kosovo and authorities in Serbia and the international community know nothing concrete 1,000 days after that politically-motivated murder,” Djilas told Reuters.

After a lengthy investigation, Kosovo authorities have indicted six people in connection with Ivanovic’s killing, but Kosovo’s Appellate Court ordered a retrial.

More than a decade since Kosovo proclaimed independence, around 40,000 Serbs in northern Kosovo refuse to recognise Pristina institutions and see Belgrade as their capital.

Normalisation of tense ties with Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is a key condition for Serbia’s entry into the European Union.

Last month, Belgrade and Pristina agreed to take steps towards economic cooperation in agreements signed at the White House.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Gareth Jones