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News 30 Apr 12

OSCE to Organise Serbian Elections in Kosovo

OSCE will organise Serbian presidential and parliamentary elections in Kosovo according to an agreement reached on Monday, top OSCE official says. 

BIRN
Belgrade

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore today welcomed the agreement reached regarding the facilitation by the OSCE of voting in Kosovo in the forthcoming Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections.

“I welcome the agreement which has been reached today regarding the facilitation by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OMiK) of voting in the forthcoming Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections," Gilmore said in a press release.

EULEX to monitor security

Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson of EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told Balkan Insight that the EU welcomes the agreement reached today and expresses its appreciation and full support to the OSCE.
 
"We call on both Pristina and Belgrade to continue to cooperate with the OSCE  in good faith so that the vote is held in a peaceful and orderly way. We call on all to refrain from any action which may spark tensions.

EULEX will monitor the security environment and will execute its mandate in close cooperation with the other international and local actors involved"

The OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, said: “The OSCE has begun its preparations to organise polling stations to enable eligible voters in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in these elections. I call on all to refrain from provocation and to allow the voting to proceed in an orderly and peaceful manner. It is essential that all parties co-operate in good faith with the OSCE as we facilitate this process.”

Brussels, Belgrade and Pristina have been negotiating for days to find a solution on how to let Kosovo Serbs vote in the presidential and parliamentary polls. The plan is to for the OSCE to provide the logistics, as Kosovo is opposed to the Serbian state playing any role in voting inside Kosovo. No details have been provided yet about the agreement.

General, local and presidential elections are scheduled for May 6 in Serbia. Serbian nationals living in other countries can vote in the presidential and general elections, in their country of residence.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 but Serbia still perceives it as part of its southern province, which is why it has no embassy in Pristina where Serbs could vote.

“We were concerned to act at all stages in full respect of UN Security Council Resolution 1244,” emphasised Gilmore.

“It is essential that the elections take place according to the agreement reached and with full respect to the OSCE’s role,” he added.

“If that is not the case, the OSCE reserves the right to withdraw from its facilitating role.”

The Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States in Pristina have welcomed the understanding reached to permit the OSCE to facilitate balloting by eligible voters in Kosovo for the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled.

"We are grateful to the OSCE for its willingness to undertake this challenging assignment at short notice and offer our full support to the OMiK team in Kosovo," a joint statement reads.

"We call upon all citizens to assist in maintaining a calm, peaceful environment so that the OSCE may carry out its work in safe and secure conditions," they added.

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