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EU Mission Member Killed in Kosovo Shooting, EULEX Says

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- A member of the European Union’s law-and-order mission was shot dead in Kosovo today after two of the group’s vehicles came under fire.

Unknown assailants attacked the mission at around 7:30 a.m. in the Serb-dominated Zvecan municipality as it headed to the Jarinje border crossing, Irena Gudeljevic, the spokeswoman for the group, known as EULEX, said by phone.

Police have sealed off the area and are investigating, she said. The victim was from Lithuania, according to a statement from the office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

“The European Union is determined to continue its engagement and commitment in Kosovo,” Ashton said. She appealed 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.”

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said the “extremist” act may “endanger peace, stability and security in Kosovo.” His deputy, Aleksandar Vucic, vowed a “fierce response” to what he described as an “attack against Serbia and its people” that was an attempt “to ruin everything” Serbia has achieved on its path to improve its reputation and join the EU.

Serbia agreed in April to improve relations with Kosovo and encourage Serbs living there to take part in elections and institutions. The agreement was reached under EU pressure against Serbia’s refusal to accept Kosovo’s 2008 secession. Cooperation with Kosovo is vital for Serbia to be able to start entry talks with the bloc.

The EU sent its rule-of-law mission to Kosovo in 2009, a year after Kosovo unilaterally declared independence. It has been recognized by 103 countries, including the U.S. and 23 of 28 EU members.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net; Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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