Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic visited the northern Kosovar city of Mitrovica on January 20, where he paid his respects to Oliver Ivanovic, an ethnic Serb political leader in Kosovo who was shot dead earlier this week.
Vucic laid a wreath at the spot where Ivanovic was killed on January 16 outside his office in the ethnically divided city.
Speaking earlier in the day at the Banjska monastery, 15 kilometers north of Mitrovica, Vucic said that Serbia will do its utmost to preserve peace, solve long-term issues with Albanians, and ensure the durability of peace and security for every Serbian and Albanian family.
Ivanovic’s assassination in the Serbian-dominated northern part of Mitrovica has raised tensions in the Balkans and prompted the suspension of EU-facilitated talks between Kosovo and Serbia.
Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence in 2008 -- nearly a decade after the 1998-99 Kosovo war -- and more than 110 countries recognize its independence. Serbia does not.
Vucic told Kosovar Serbs that they need to stay and survive in Kosovo and that the state of Serbia will continue helping them.
“We must not be less in the territory of the country where we have always lived," Vucic said.
He also said that he will talk to Serbs about their security after the assassination of Ivanovic.
“Let’s see how [Kosovo] will conduct the investigation,” he said.
“We will wait, not for the newspaper stories, but for the final results of the investigation, and we will see if it will lead to the perpetrators of this abominable crime or not," he added.
Vucic wrapped up his trip, which came amid heightened security measures, later on January 20 with a visit to Laplje Selo, a Serb-majority village near Kosovo's capital, Pristina.
There he met Serbian citizens from across Kosovo who told him of problems they face, including unemployment and difficulties in the agricultural sector.