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No Agreement On Changing OSCE's Election Monitoring

Vienna, 22 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- An international conference on monitoring elections ended in Vienna today without reaching agreement on Russian demands for changes in the methods of assessing the fairness of elections in postcommunist states.

Delegates say there were sharp discussions during the two days of talks behind closed doors. The talks focused on election monitoring by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). More than 200 election experts attended the meeting.

During the conference, the chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission, Aleksandr Veshnyakov, criticized several aspects of OSCE election monitoring in postcommunist countries. He called for changes in methods for evaluating the fairness of elections. He also said some OSCE election assessments appear to be influenced by the political goals of other countries.

A delegate from the United States, John Gale, told the conference that some countries do not have the political will to implement OSCE commitments to free and fair elections.