Continued from page 1

After Milosevic was ousted in 2000, Milinkovic was sent to Vienna as Serbia’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

He was transferred to NATO in 2004. Serbia is not a member of the military alliance, but Milinkovic was named ambassador after Belgrade joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, which involves neutral states.

The move to join the NATO program had angered Serbian nationalists, who are now in power. They have pledged that Serbia will never join NATO because of the alliance’s 1999 bombing campaign that forced Milosevic’s forces to withdraw from Serbia’s southern province of Kosovo. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, which has never accepted that loss.

Milosevic was widely blamed for instigating the Balkan wars in the 1990s that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia, conflicts that claimed more than 100,000 lives and left millions homeless.

At NATO, Milinkovic worked to foster closer ties with the representatives of all five other nations that gained independence after the bloody 1991 breakup of the former Yugoslav federation into Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia.