Sat Aug 27, 2005 06:01 PM ET
By Shaban Buza
PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro (Reuters) - Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova was flown to a military hospital in Germany on Saturday after his health deteriorated following a bout of the flu.
"On the recommendation of his doctors, President Rugova decided to go for tests and further medical treatment at a U.S. military base in Germany," his office said in a statement.
A spokesman refused to comment on the seriousness of his illness, but a source close to the president said he was having respiratory problems.
Rugova was transported by U.S. military plane to the Landstuhl military hospital having received treatment at the sprawling Bondsteel U.S. military base in southern Kosovo.
The 60-year-old ethnic Albanian has been at the forefront of Kosovo's drive to win independence from Serbia, with U.N.-backed talks aimed at deciding Kosovo's "final status" expected within months.
With his trademark silk scarf and wire-rimmed spectacles, Rugova led almost a decade of passive resistance to Serb rule in the 1990s, creating a virtual underground state.
But the former literature professor was temporarily sidelined in 1998 when the mood swung in favour of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, which took up arms against Serb forces.
The war ended in 1999 with 78 days of NATO bombing to drive out Serb forces accused of atrocities against ethnic Albanian civilians.
Kosovo remains under the control of the United Nations. Rugova, who escaped unhurt when a bomb blast rocked his car in Pristina in March, heads the Democratic League of Kosovo, the largest party in a coalition interim government.