Belgrade, March 13, 2003 - March 13 - In an interview with radio B92, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Zarko Korac spoke about the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the motives behind the crime, the work of state institutions in the state of emergency and the government's further steps in the fight against organised crime. The following are excerpts from the interview.
"A police operation is under way and a number of individuals listed as suspects were detained last night. However, the majority of them are in hiding. The Interior Ministry has been intensively monitoring the group for the past several months and we strongly believe that the group is behind the attempted assassination [of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic] on a motorway outside Belgrade near the Limes hall.
I can give you information from the Interior Ministry: after he was released from prison, Mr Dejan Milenkovic, aka 'Bugsy', went straight to Dusan Spasojevic in the famous fortress in Silerova Street. This is more than clear proof of who works with whom. The police are conducting an extensive investigation and have good cooperation with the police forces of neighbouring countries."
On the plan to destabilise the state through, among other things, the assassination of the Prime Minister, and the state operation to be carried out within days against individuals accused of a number of crimes including the murder of the Prime Minister:
"They are well informed, they knew what was happening, that's for sure. They knew we had new documents, evidence, statements, they knew that previously unknown names came up. However, it's difficult to say how they got the information and who their sources were. New information emerged, which clearly mobilised them into action. Many will now raise a logical question: 'what difference is the Prime Minister's assassination suppose to make?' I believe that there is a clear political plan behind this, and that is the destabilisation of the state, conflict within the DOS, non-operation of the government and the parliament, new elections, as well as their expectation that the so-called 'patriotic forces' take power, the forces that will appreciate their so-called credits for wars [in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo]. This political plan is behind what happened."
On preserving the continuity of the Serbian government and reforms:
"The state will go all the way to the end; we will preserve the continuity of the government and this reform group. The DOS presidency met last night and unanimously made some decisions. We will defend the reforms. To be honest, it will be very difficult without Zoran Djindjic - he was skilful and competent, and he successfully kept the group together."
On the significance of the Prime Minister's role in carrying out reforms in Serbia:
"Zoran Djindjic was very capable of balancing things. I always used to say: 'it's easy to be a politician when you have large support, but it's very difficult to be a successful politician when all you have is your programme and your skill.' We made that group and put up a brave fight. His murder is the greatest confirmation that that he was the prime threat [to those who opposed reforms]. His death is a confirmation of his value to reforms. They killed precisely the one whom they thought bore the reforms (...)."