Monday, September 05, 2005

Kosovo President Has Cancer but Won't Quit

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro Sep 5, 2005 — Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova, linked for decades to the ethnic Albanian majority's anti-Serb struggle, said Monday he has lung cancer, but he pledged to stay in office as the U.N.-run province nears crucial talks on its future.

Rugova, 61, said in a televised speech that he would continue to work toward his lifelong goal of Kosovo's independence from Serbian domination that ended only six years ago, when fighting against Serb troops ended and NATO and United Nations assumed control of the province.

"We will continue to work even harder for the recognition of Kosovo's independence," Rugova said.

"Doctors have found that I suffer from a localized lung cancer and they have assigned me an intensive healing therapy," he said. "I am convinced that with the help of God, I will overcome this battle."

Sitting in an armchair at his official residence, a pale Rugova thanked the U.S. government for taking care of him.

Rugova returned to Kosovo on Saturday after spending a week at the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he received treatment.

Soren Jessen-Petersen, Kosovo's top U.N. official, wished Rugova a "speedy recovery." He also called on the people in the province "to stay united (and) remain dignified in their solidarity with the president."

Secrecy had surrounded Rugova's health problems for the last two weeks as he underwent tests and treatment. His associates offered no details on his illness.

That led to fears of a possible slowdown in the process leading to talks on the province's future, planned for later this year.

The president, who has cult status among some ethnic Albanians, has been at the forefront of their demand for independence from Serbia since the early 1990s, when he led a nonviolent movement against the policies of Slobodan Milosevic, then president of Yugoslavia.

Serbs want Kosovo to remain part of Serbia-Montenegro, a union that replaced Yugoslavia.

If Rugova left office, it would leave Kosovo's political scene in disarray at the most sensitive time since the end of the war in 1999.

No other Kosovo politician can hope to fill his shoes because of his longevity and the international respect he gained through the peaceful nature of his opposition to Serb dominance and repression. In contrast, other Kosovo Albanians now in leadership positions were part of the Kosovo Liberation Army that fought Serb troops.

As such, they are lionized by ethnic Albanians but cannot claim to have been above the fray. While Serb forces are considered the main perpetrators of atrocities during the Kosovo struggle, several KLA leaders also have been implicated and are being tried by the U.N. war crimes tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands.

Until recently, Rugova led the Democratic League of Kosovo, the province's biggest political party, which has won two general elections since the U.N. began running the disputed province in 1999. The U.N. came in after a NATO air war aimed at stopping the crackdown by Serb forces on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Anonymous said...

May God help this Great Man overcome the illness and continue to lead the Kosovars towards independence!

Anonymous said...

May God be with him.

Anonymous said...

There is no God in Albanian society...only "Albanism". He's a dead man. Lung cancer is an awful way to go.

Anonymous said...

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous said...
There is no God in Albanian society...only "Albanism".

Yet another eastern orthodox saint decided to share his knowledge of "Albansm".

So, if you don't believe in Sveti something, you do not have a God, eh?

Show a little humanity for God's sake...

Or if you look at this from a Serb prospective, a sick person (along with women and children) is an "opportunity target", especially if he is an Albanian.

Let me share something with you Serb suckers; you better pray that Rugova survives since he is the only one that may compromise a bit. All the others are not only for immediate independence, some advocate unification with Albania. I urge you to pray for Rugova if you want to visit Kosova without applying for a visa in the Embassy of ALbania.

Anonymous said...

lshoni bre ket t'smute teposhte. thojin e gjune budalla gurin n'pus e tjert kcejin mi marre. mos ja vnoni veshin. ne te njejten kohe nqs vazhdon me komente t'gjata e lus redaktorin me ja hek postimet. menxi qe po pret me ju pergjegj dikush mirepo po t'detyron me ra n'nivel t'tina edhe replikusi. po m'doket qe ka nevoje per ndihme psikologjike po ajo pune vet.
ne nderkohe, qe shka po thojin serbt tjere. kjo nen redakture sigurisht.

mbani atmosfere pozitive n'kete vend.

Anonymous said...

Pajtohem, mos te biem ne nivel shtazor si keta. Injoroni, me se miri, se me komentet e tyre e tregojne se kush jane.

Anonymous said...

"unity with albania"
is merely a key word for more albanians dying...this time at the hands of NATO. No skin off my nose...none at all. No one in the balkans will cry if you decide to engage in national suicide. Hell, no one in Europe or the USA will either.

Anonymous said...

That is what a Serb ask to Santa. That's his/her wish.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

and that is why albanians in kosovo are occupied with no independence.

Anonymous said...

don't speak to soon. right now, KOSOVA is ready to become independent. Serbia is still lagging economically with kostunica. think about your family and not albanian kosova!

Anonymous said...

My family is fine right here in the suburbs of Virginia. I find it more than amusing that albanians won't believe that Americans are fed up with their violence and hatred. I, for one, do not support your kind of 'nation building'. We truly bombed the wrong side in the Balkans.