Washington, 12 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Commission of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is refusing to send observers to the parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia later this month.
The Commission said in a statement in Washington yesterday that it will not send monitors for the September 21 event because the elections will not be free or fair.
It said the Belgrade government has not implemented OSCE recommendations made after last year's failed local election.
The Commission said there is still no genuine dialogue with the Serb opposition groups, independent media are still restricted and recent amendments to the election law favor the ruling party.
Therefore, according to the Commission these conditions make impossible even remotely free and fair elections. It said the elections do not deserve the credibility that international observation by the OSCE could give them.
However, OSCE monitors from other countries are expected to go to Serbia. The U.S. Commission said it does not agree with the decision but hopes the observers will be candid in their reporting on the election campaign and polling process.
The statement concluded with an appeal to the Belgrade authorities to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Serbia instead of trampling on them to maintain power.