Saturday, January 21, 2006

Croatian president says Rugova's death deprives Kosovo of wise leader

Text of report in English by Croatian news agency HINA

Zagreb, 21 January: The death of President Ibrahim Rugova has deprived Kosovo and Kosovo Albanians of a political leader whose political wisdom and composure would certainly be necessary in a key period which Kosovo is entering, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic has said, expressing his condolence at the death of the 61-year-old president.

I hope and believe that legitimate representatives of Kosovo Albanians will be able to follow the course of action on which Rugova embarked, strongly promoting rights of the Albanian population in Kosovo and at the same time avoiding any extremism that might undermine efforts aimed at the accomplishment of their efforts, Mesic said in a statement which his office released on Saturday [21 January] afternoon.

"Ibrahim Rugova will be remembered not only as a regional politician but also as an unavoidable protagonist in events which took place in the area of the former Yugoslavia in the years after its disintegration. He will be also remembered as a man on whom the international community had every reason to rely while seeking an acceptable solution to the Kosovo issue," Mesic said.

Rugova died in his residence in Pristina on Saturday. Several months ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

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