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Serbia: U.S. Welcomes OSCE Mission To Belgrade

Washington, 18 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States has welcomed a mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which will investigate disputed municipal elections in Serbia.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said yesterday the United States is very pleased the OSCE acted so quickly in response to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic' invitation and formed a delegation of high-level experts to go to Serbia.

The delegation, led by former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, will leave for Belgrade shortly. Burns said the United States is pleased Gonzalez accepted the appointment and fully supports his mission.

Burns said the United States has "a strong hope that the Serbian government will respond to the OSCE delegation."

He expressed skepticism about Milosevic's commitment to the OSCE and intentions of dealing fairly with the issue. Burns said "we have a lot of faith in the OSCE."

He said the United States hopes the delegation will be able to make sure that all the votes cast in the November 17 elections are recounted fairly. Burns said the United States expects the results to show that opposition parties won a majority in most major Serbian cities and that those results should stand. The opposition should take office in those municipalities, he said.