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Serbian President Boris Tadic said he wanted to act in a "European fashion' and attend Rugova's funeral (file photo) (AFP)
24 January 2006 -- The family of late Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova and Kosovo institutions have rejected a request by Serbian President Boris Tadic to attend Rugova's funeral.
The parties said in a statement it was not the appropriate moment for Tadic to attend.
Yesterday, Tadic said he wanted to attend the 26 January funeral, saying it was a matter of elementary courtesy to go.
Kosovo is formally a part of Serbia, though ethnic Albanians there reject Serbian rule. Serbia, for its part, wants to retain sovereignty and has offered the province autonomy.
Rugova succumbed to cancer on 21 January at the age of 61.
Rugova at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters in 1998
IBRAHIM RUGOVA visited RFE/RL headquarters in Prague on December 18, 1998, in order to highlight the oppression of Albanian-language media in Kosovo by the government of then Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
The Serbian Information Ministry on December 18, 1998 threatened two newspapers in Kosovo with prosecution for allegedly "stirring up terrorism and calling for the violent overthrow of the constitutional order." Serbia passed an information law two months earlier, setting fines for articles perceived to threaten the constitutional order.
Rugova said Serbian authorities have subjected Albanian-language media in the province to years of repression, shutting down some 90 periodicals, barring Albanian-language television programs and banning or jailing local journalists. He said there were two Albanian-language dailies left - "Bujku" and "Koha Ditore" - which continue to function. Rugova also said Serbian forces could, in his words "exterminate Kosovars next spring in a couple of days if they wanted to." He said this is why it is his goal to achieve a negotiated interim political settlement with the help of the international community.
For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of events in Kosovo, click here.