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Outrage Voiced At Attack On Kosovo President

UN Administrator Voices Outrage At Attack On Kosovo President

The United Nations administrator for Kosovo today strongly condemned the explosive attack against President Ibrahim Rugova as an attack against the democratic institutions of the ethnically-divided province which the world body has run since 1999.

“Such acts do not have the support of the larger population in Kosovo and they will not succeed in derailing Kosovo’s steady progress towards implementation of standards and towards the final status talks later this year,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Søren Jessen-Petersen said.

The standards are eight targets to build trust between majority Albanians and minority Serbs, such as democratic institutions, minority rights and an impartial legal system, that have to be met before talks start on the final status of the Serbian province. The UN has run Kosovo since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove out Yugoslav troops amid grave human rights abuses in fighting between Albanians and Serbs in 1999. Albanians outnumber other communities, mainly Serbs, by about 9 to 1.

Expressing shock and outrage at the attack on Mr. Rugova’s convoy, and relief that no injuries were caused, Mr. Jessen-Petersen voiced confidence that the recent examples of democratic maturity in Kosovo reflect a resilience that would enable its institutions to weather such acts of violence.

Last week the ethnic Albanian Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, resigned and surrendered to the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, after being indicted on 17 counts of crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, and 20 counts of war crimes for his role as a guerrilla commander in the 1998-99 fighting. Yesterday he pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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