Kosovo issues international warrant for murder of Serb minority leader

PRISTINA, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Kosovo has issued an international arrest warrant for a Serb nationalist leader suspected of involvement in the killing of a moderate Kosovar Serb politician, the justice minister said on Friday.

Relations between Serbia and Kosovo have been tense since 2008 when the former Serb province declared independence.

Some 40,000-50,000 ethnic Serbs live in northern Kosovo, resisting integration with the rest of the mainly ethnic Albanian country.

Oliver Ivanovic was gunned down in January 2018 in front of his party office in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica in an area mainly inhabited by Kosovo's Serb minority.

The Pristina Basic Court has issued "the international arrest warrant for the key suspect Milan Radoicic," Justice Minister Abelard Tahiri said in a press statement.

Radoicic is one of the leaders of a Kosovar Serb nationalist party that is backed by Belgrade, lives openly in Serbia and is often seen in meetings with Serb president Aleksandar Vucic.

Radoicic has previously denied any involvement in the killing. Reuters was unable to reach him for comment on Friday.

Two police officers from the Serb minority were also arrested last year as part of the probe into Ivanovic's death. (Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Toby Chopra)