Belgrade, May 03, 2012
SERBIA – ELECTIONS - K&M
ASHTON WELCOMES ELECTION AGREEMENT WITH OSCE
BRUSSELS, May 01 (Tanjug) - Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, welcomed Tuesday the agreement with the Organization for Security and Cooperation 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, Aston said in a statement delivered to the media.
She called on Pristina 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.
GAON: OSCE TO FACILITATE VOTING OF SERBS IN KOSOVO
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, May 02 (Tanjug) -OSCE Spokesperson Nikola Gaon said on Wednesday that the mission will facilitate the voting of all who reside in Kosovo and have the right to cast their ballot in the Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections. The eligible voters will have an opportunity to vote in 28 centers with a total of 90 polling stations, which will include up to 500 OSCE staff members.
Although deadlines are very tight, we believe that with the help of all stakeholders, we will manage to do a great job. After the poling stations are closed, the OSCE will transport the ballots to the locations where the counting will take place, outside Kosovo, Gaon told Tanjug.
He added that OSCE is taking all measures to make sure that the process is wellsecured, and with respect to that, the OSCE is in contact with the Kosovo Police Service, EULEX and KFOR.
As regards local elections, the OSCE has been included only in the facilitation of voting in the presidential and parliamentary elections, and there will be no voting in local elections in the polling stations established by OSCE, Gaon noted. A total of 90 polling stations in 28 locations will be open in Kosovo Metohija on May 6. The polling stations and locations have been determined with the OSCE's consent.
WESTERWELLE, BILDT BACK DEAL ON VOTE IN KOSOVO
BELGRADE, May 03 (Tanjug) - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt welcomed in Berlin the agreement on holding the Serbian election in Kosovo, and urged Serbia to stay committed to its EU pathway.
The people in Serbia need to make their own decision, Bildt underlined commenting the upcoming elections in Serbia on May 6, adding that the importance of Serbia's European orientation comes first.
Westerwelle and Bildt conferred in Berlin on Wednesday, and one of the topics of the talks was the situation in the Western Balkans, reads the website of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Westerwelle commended the Serbia Kosovo agreement on the elections facilitated by OSCE. The two officials called for restraint and responsibility during the elections, the website reads.
Westerwelle and Bildt urged both parties to refrain from unilateral moves.
OSCE Spokesperson Nikola Gaon said on Wednesday that the mission will facilitate the voting of all who reside in Kosovo and have the right to cast their ballot in the Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections, adding that the eligible voters will have an opportunity to vote in 28 centers with a total of 90 polling stations, which will include up to 500 OSCE staff members.
GERMAN GOVT EXTENDS BUNDESWEHR'S MANDATE IN KOSOVO
BERLIN, May 02 (Tanjug) - The German government decided Wednesday to extend the mandate of Bundeswehr (army) as part of KFOR troops in Kosovo for another year.
The extended mandate maintains the ceiling on the number of Bundeswehr soldiers who can be deployed to the former Serbian province at 1,850. The German press reported that Germany currently has around 1,200 soldiers in Kosovo.
The press also reported that parliamentary commissioner for the German armed forces Hellmut Koenigshaushas criticized the recent deployment of troops to Kosovo, since they are overloaded. A part of the soldiers has been constantly engaged for almost a year and a half, he added.
The decision on extension made by Chancellor Angela Merkel still has to be approved by Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. Germany first sent its troops to Kosovo in 1999, and the press says that the situation in Kosovo ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections is critical and that therefore additional troops from Germany and Austria have been sent to reinforce KFOR.
MORE THAN 35 OSCE OBSERVERS TO MONITOR ELECTIONS
COPENHAGEN, May 01 (Tanjug) - The monitoring mission of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, which will observe the Sunday elections in Serbia, will comprise more than 35 members, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The monitoring mission will be headed by Italian Matteo Mecacci who was appointed as special coordinator by OSCE ChairpersoninOffice, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore.
For a relatively short time, Serbia has done a lot to strengthen democratic efforts, Mecacci said.
I hope that the elections, which we will observe this Sunday, will be seen as a successful model for a wider area of the OSCE activity, he added.
Mecacci is to deliver his assessment of the elections in Serbia at a press conference scheduled for May 7, the day after the polls.
The OSCE will determine to what extent the country has managed to meet the OSCE goals listed in the Copenhagen Document of 1990, to which Serbia is a signatory, the release reads.
KFOR: ALL 700 TROOPS HAVE ARRIVED IN KOSOVO
PRISTINA, April 30 (Tanjug) - KFOR Deputy Spokesman Mark Stimmler said on Monday that all 700 troops from the 2nd battalion of the Operational Reserve Forces (OPR) had arrived in Kosovo.
Stimmler said in a statement for Tanjug that all 700 soldiers who came as reinforcements stand ready as of Tuesday to act in line with orders of KFOR Commander Major General Erhard Drews.
Stimmler could not specify where the ORF troops will be deployed.
The additional contingent comprising 700 soldiers arrived at Drews's request, after his assessment that there had been a rise in tensions on the ground.
KFOR took all measures so as to preserve law and order, so the holding of the May 6 elections should not destabilize the situation, said earlier members of the German and U.S. contingents in Kosovo.
RASMUSSEN: KFOR WILL PREVENT DESTABILIZATION
BELGRADE, April 30 (Tanjug) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Serbian Minister of Defense Dragan Sutanovac Monday that KFOR will do everything possible to prevent destabilization.
They discussed security issues in Kosovo Metohija, with a special emphasis on the preparations and course of the presidential and parliamentary elections which will be held in Serbia on 6 May.
The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that Sutanovac welcomed the increase in KFOR troops and their preventive and temporary deployment, with the aim of ensuring the safety of all citizens in Kosovo Metohija.
Sutanovac insisted that KFOR forces ensure the smooth running of the electoral process in the province, in accordance with the agreement made between the Serbian government and the OSCE and pointed out to Rasmussen that there are people in whose interest it is to cause incidents during the elections and urged KFOR to act preventively with the power of its authority to avoid any such thing.
He underlined that good relations that have been established between the Serbian Army and KFOR are of vital importance and that now both sides have to justify the capacity to perform the tasks that are ahead of them.
Rasmussen said that KFOR will maintain its status neutral position and that it will act within the mandate defined by UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo Agreement.
The NATO secretary-general emphasized that KFOR will do everything to prevent any kind of destabilization and possible conflicts, because it is in the interest of KFOR to achieve a high level of security for everybody in Kosovo Metohija, the statement adds.