Tuesday, March 15, 2005

OSCE chief Rupel "shocked" by attack on Rugova

Slovenian Foreign Minister and chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Dimitrij Rupel on Tuesday condemned the bomb attack that narrowly missed Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova, describing it as an attempt to stop the process of democratization in the UN-administered Serbian province.

"While I was distressed to hear of this action I was also relieved to hear that President Rugova and his staff were unharmed," Rupel said, pointing out the attack against the democratically elected president of Kosovo took place in a very sensitive moment for the province.

"We must prevent any attempt to derail the democratic progress of the province for succeeding. I urge Kosovo's citizens to continue behaving in a responsible manner," Rupel said in a statement issued here in Ljubljana.

Rupel said Rugova has played a key role in the process of establishing democratic institutions in the province and promised the pan-European 55-member organization's help in strengthening democracy and stability in Kosovo.

A roadside bomb exploded early Tuesday as Rugova's car headed for a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in the provincial capital Pristina.

A visibly shaken Rugova attended the meeting with Solana, who is in Kosovo to discuss the formation of a new government following the resignation of prime minister Ramush Haradinaj to face charges at the UN war crimes court.

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