"OSCE will only monitor elections in Kosovo"
Oliver Ivanović says the agreement signed on Monday stipulates that the OSCE will only monitor Serbian presidential and parliamentary elections in Kosovo.Source: Tanjug
The the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija also underlined on Tuesday that the polls will be organized by the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK).
In a statement for Tanjug, Ivanović dismissed the claims by the government in Priština that the OSCE had taken it upon itself to organize the parliamentary and presidential elections in the province on May 6.
The Kosovo Albanian authorities in Priština, meanwhile, issued a statement welcoming the OSCE decision to take it on itself to ensure that all conditions are met for the Serbs in Kosovo to vote in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
In the release, the government in Priština noted that "mobile polling stations labeled with OSCE symbols will be open in Kosovo on May 6, while the counting of votes will be organized outside the territory of Kosovo, taking into account that there is no Serbian embassy in the Republic of Kosovo and vice versa".
The polling station staff will include representatives of the OSCE, but there will be no emblems of the organization at the polling stations since its role will be only “to monitor the elections and offer Serbia logistic support.”
“That means that the OSCE will organize transport of election material, with the assistance of EULEX, since in the conditions of political tensions and the rigid stand of the government in Priština , we could not organize the elections in the entire territory of Kosovo,” Ivanović explained.
“For Albanians, that would have been a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate force and show that they are in control of the area,” Ivanović said, adding that this primarily refers to the territory south of the Ibar River.
“We have nothing against this role of OSCE, since that would actually make these elections legitimate,” Ivanović said, adding that the number of polling stations had been reduced, that the votes will be counted outside the territory of Kosovo, in central Serbia, as the OSCE "does not enough staff for that".
He stressed that the elections will be held in line with the Serbian laws.
"In keeping with UN SC Resolution 1244, there will be no local elections in Kosovo and Metohija. This resolution also envisages that UNMIK has the right to gradually transfer its competencies to Kosovo's institutions, which it has been doing in the recent years," the state secretary underlined.
“Unfortunately, we have not received support of the international community for the holding of local elections,” Ivanović concluded.
Ashton welcomes agreement
Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, welcomed on Tuesday the agreement with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) about the holding of elections in Kosovo.
I welcome the agreement on the holding of elections. I want to express my admiration and full support to the OSCE, which will help parliamentary and presidential elections be held, Ahston said in a statement delivered to the media.
She called on Priština and Belgrade to cooperate with the OSCE and refrain from moves which could lead to rise in tensions.
EULEX will closely monitor the elections and carry out their duties in close cooperation with local and international organizations, the statement reads.