Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, May 26, 1999 Published at 16:09 GMT

World: Europe

Refugees greet Rugova

Ibrahim Rugova: Seen by many as Kosovo's president-in-exile

By the BBC's Paul Wood in Skopje

The Kosovar Albanian leader, Ibrahim Rugova, has made his first visit to refugee camps in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Kosovo: Special Report

Arriving at the airport, he issued a statement saying that refugees would not go home unless Nato was able to provide a security presence inside Kosovo.

Large, cheering crowds greeted Dr Rugova as he toured the refugee camps at Blace and Stenkovac.

Although not supported by influential parts of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, for many in the camps he is quite simply their president-in-exile.

Refugees chanted "We are all...we are all for Rugova...Rugova to be our President...of Kosovo" as he walked through the crowds who had come to see him.

'Kosovo is empty'

Dr Rugova himself would not say if he supported a land war by Nato, but he said that refugees would never return to their homes without an international security presence.

"Without an international presence, it's impossible today to have people in Kosovo ... I've been in Pristina. Pristina is empty; Kosovo is empty," he said.

In the eyes of some Kosovo Albanians, Dr Rugova was damaged by statements attributed to him while he remained in Kosovo during the bombing.

But Western governments have been making a real effort to bolster his authority, hoping that he will have a central role to play in the Kosovo that emerges after a settlement is reached with Belgrade.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

23 May 99 | Europe
Nato steps up strikes

23 May 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Propaganda battle over Kosovo

23 May 99 | UK Politics
Allies 'united' on Kosovo troops

21 May 99 | Europe
Anti-Yugoslav protest in Montenegro

Internet Links


Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosovo Crisis Centre

UNHCR Kosovo news

Oxfam in Kosovo

Eyewitness accounts of the bombing

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift