The death of Kosovo’s president Ibrahim Rugova comes just before UN-backed talks on the future of the province were set to begin. The negotiations in Vienna were planned for Wednesday but have now been put off until early next month. Officials from Belgrade and Pristina are set to debate whether Kosovo’s 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority should be given independence or stay part of Serbia. The province has been run by the UN since 1999, when NATO bombing drove out Serb forces.Under the rules of the territory’s interim institutions, the parliamentary speaker Nexhat Daci has been appointed acting president. Analysts say Rugova has no clear successor in his Democratic League of Kosovo and there is no word on who will now lead the province’s negotiating team. Rugova had been expected to steer his side through several months of talks. The French-educated literature professor had promoted passive resistance to Serb domination from 1989, when Belgrade stripped the province of its autonomy.
Leadership vacuum after death of Rugova