(Washington, DC--March 12, 2003) RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine released the following statement today, in reaction to the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic:
"I and my colleagues at RFE/RL are deeply saddened by the tragic loss today of Zoran Djindjic, the Prime Minister of Serbia, who was killed in a cowardly fashion by an assassin's two bullets. Freedom and democracy have lost a friend; Serbia has lost a needed leader of modern, liberal reforms; the radios have lost a significant supporter; and I have lost a friend.
"Only 50 years old, Prime Minister Djindjic recently revisited us at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. He had a fresh approach to his country and to the Balkan region; he was eager to solve problems; he had the energy of a youthful man; he was determined to lead the Serbian people out of the wreckage of the thuggish, genocidal years of Milosevic.
"As I was saying goodbye to him following his 90-minute discussion with us, I said that the next time he comes to Prague, I would like to host a dinner in his honor at our home. He accepted and gave me his warm, boyish smile and farewell hand-shake. That is the man I will remember. Bless his soul."