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OSCE: Leaders Reiterate Concern Over Serbia, Belarus

Copenhagen, 23 Jauary 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has renewed its criticism of the Serbian government for its continuing refusal to recognize last November's opposition electoral victories.

Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg, who is the current OSCE chairman, said yesterday he deplored the Serbian government's refusal to unconditionally recognize poll results. But Petersen added that the OSCE is only prepared to give the Serbian opposition "support in principle," appearing to indicate that the OSCE will not take a more active role in the crisis.

Petersen's statements came at the end of a meeting of the OSCE's previous, current and future chair states in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Those states, represented by their foreign ministers at the meeting, are Switzerland, Denmark and Poland.

The OSCE's current and former heads also reiterated their "grave concern" over the situation in Belarus. They urged President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to respect democratic principles as they are understood by the international community.