Summary: EUHR Solana's address at President Rugova's Memorial Service (26 January 2006: Pristina)
Today, we say farewell to President Ibrahim Rugova. I would like to offer my condolences to the family and to peoples of Kosovo.
I have known President Rugova for many years. I met him in many difficult times, and in better times as well. I had many long talks with him and I consider him a friend.
Ibrahim Rugova was a man who devoted his entire life to protecting the rights of the peoples of Kosovo. He was firm in his convictions and determined in his efforts, but he was also a man of peace, deeply committed in achieving his objectives by non-violent means. For this he was loved by the peoples of Kosovo and respected all over the world.
His death is a great loss. And it is one of the cruel ironies of history that he left at the moment he was most needed, the very moment he was expected to provide leadership in helping to settle the future status of Kosovo.
However, I sincerely hope that his legacy continue to guide Kosovo.
At this difficult moment the political leaders must display unity and responsibility. There is great deal of work to do and there is no time to lose. All communities in Kosovo must be assured that they have a safe and secure future.
This is the only way to ensure a successful settlement of the status of Kosovo and to promote its European future.
And I am certain that this is also the best way to pay tribute to the memory of President Rugova.