Serbia’s ambassador to Nato threw himself to his death from a car park moments after chatting and joking with colleagues.
Branislav Milinkovic was at Brussels Airport when he suddenly strolled to a barrier, climbed over and jumped, one diplomat said. By the time his shocked colleagues reached him, he was dead.
His motives are a mystery. Three diplomats who knew him said he did not appear distraught in the hours leading up to his death on Tuesday night. He seemed to be going about his regular business, picking up an arriving delegation of six Serbian officials who were due to hold talks with Nato, the alliance that went to war with his country just 13 years ago.
Belgian authorities confirmed no futher investigation was planned and the ambassador had killed himself.
A former author and activist opposed to the authoritarian regime of Serbia’s former strongman Slobodan Milosevic, he was a respected diplomat and intellectual.
Colleagues said they knew of no circumstances – private or professional – that would have prompted him to take his own life. But Mr Milinkovic, 52, had mentioned to colleagues at diplomatic functions he was unhappy about living apart from his wife, a Serbian diplomat based in Vienna, and their 17-year-old son.
Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said that “Belgian police are investigating, but it’s obviously a suicide. It’s hard to figure out the motives or causes.”
Nato’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was “deeply saddened” by Mr Milikovic’s death.