IN SHORT

Slovakia offers Kosovo condolences

SLOVAKIA'S Foreign Affairs Ministry sent its condolences and expressed its sorrow following the death of President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosovo, who died of lung cancer on January 21, the TASR news agency reported.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Juraj Tomaga said the people of Kosovo had lost an extraordinary leader, who had natural authority and assumed responsibility for the future of the province.

"We believe that the message sent out by President Rugova will contribute to reconciliation and the restoration of confidence in the region. It is a painful loss for his nation, especially coming just before the crucial talks on the future status of Kosovo scheduled for Vienna," said Tomaga.

The Vienna talks have been postponed until early February because of the president's death.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry believes that the top representatives of Kosovo will show the necessary courage, moderation and understanding at the crucial talks, and will try to find a solution for Kosovo.

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