PRISTINA - SRSG Søren Jessen-Petersen issued the following statement upon learning of the passing of President Ibrahim Rugova:
“This is a moment of profound sorrow for Kosovo and I share your sadness and grief.
I wish first of all to extend my heartfelt condolences, in my own name and on behalf of all of UNMIK, to President Rugova’s family – may you find strength and comfort in each other and in your faith to see you through this very painful moment.
I also want to extend my condolences to the people of Kosovo and the PISG. President Rugova’s unwavering belief in his vision for Kosovo, which he pursued so determinedly throughout his life, earned him the respect of not only the people of Kosovo but also the wider international community.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting the President very frequently. I will always remember him as a wise, thoughtful, committed and warm person.
It is particularly tragic that President Rugova should leave us at this very decisive moment for the future of Kosovo.
The best tribute we can pay to President Rugova and his legacy is to stay united during the coming months.
Indeed, this is the moment for all the people and political leaders of Kosovo to pull together and show the maturity and wisdom that would serve Kosovo well now and in the future.
President Rugova was a unifying force, a talented and highly-committed leader who continued to work tirelessly for Kosovo until his last days.
He leaves behind a legacy of determination and perseverance, and dialogue.
He will always have a unique place in the history of Kosovo.”