Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova dies

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ibrahim Rugova

Kosova President Ibrahim Rugova, the leader for many years of Kosova in the most difficult process and struggle for country’s independence, died Saturday.

Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova passed away in his home in Prishtina at 11:38, close to his family members, his personal doctor, a US doctor, and his close staff. President Rugova suffered from lung cancer, diagnosed in end of August 2005. He fought his illness for months with an exceptional moral courage. The PM had called an urgent Cabinet session at 3 pm, sources say.

The death was a few days before the United Nations was to begin a Belgrade-Pristina discussions relating to the road to independence for the province. Rugova, 61, has no definite successor in his faction-ridden Democratic League of Kosovo or head of the Kosovo negotiating team, which he was expected to lead. Western diplomats are worried about a possible messy power struggle.

The Sorbonne-educated literature professor was the architect of the decade-old passive resistance since 1989, when former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic stripped the province of autonomy.

A statement issued by President Rugova’s Office said the public would be advised shortly concerning the details related to the events to honor the President.