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Annan Urges Serbian Participation In Kosovo Elections

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan 22 October 2004 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged Kosovo's Serbian community to participate in tomorrow's elections for the local Kosovo assembly.

Annan issued a statement today saying the best way for the province's minority Serbs to promote their interests is to take part in the vote. He also urged Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders to encourage all voters to participate in the elections.

Serbs have threatened to boycott the elections because of security concerns, heightened after the outbreak of ethnic violence in March.

Annan's statement expressed hope that the elections will show a strengthening of local democratic institutions. The United Nations has run Kosovo as a virtual protectorate for five years and is scheduled to review the reform efforts of local leaders by the middle of next year.