Kosovar leader says people lost 'a friend' in Holbrooke
Dec 14, 2010, 12:34 GMT
Pristina - Kosovo caretaker Prime Minister Hashim Thaci on Tuesday expressed condolences to the US on the death of diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who was 'a friend' of the people of Kosovo.
Thaci, whose Democratic Party won Sunday's snap elections, sent a telegram to President Barack Obama saying that 'For citizens of Kosovo, the death of Richard Holbrooke is a loss of a friend, of a voice that protected the interest of the Republic of Kosovo.'
Holbrooke was a staunch supporter of Kosovo Albanians in their fight against Belgrade's rule in the late 1990s.
The conflict in Kosovo spurred US into leading NATO in its intervention against Serbia in 1999, eventually paving the way to the secession of the province in 2008.
Thaci's remarks came amid a so far muted response in the Balkan region to the news of Holbrooke's death.
In Sarajevo, one reaction came from the international community's representative in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, who credited Holbrooke for the Dayton peace accord.
In Belgrade, Serbian state television RTS only quoted Peter Robinson, a lawyer in The Hague for former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, as saying that Karadzic felt 'sorrow and regret' over the news of Holbrooke's death.
On trial facing genocide charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Karadzic has claimed that Holbrooke in 1996 had promised him immunity from prosecution for his actions during the Bosnian war.
Robinson said Karadzic was hoping to get Holbrooke to testify at the ICTY proceedings.