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Serbia: OSCE Demands Recognition Of Opposition Victories

Vienna, 24 January 1997 (nca/) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has again demanded that the Belgrade government recognize opposition victories in last year's elections as recommended by a team of OSCE investigators.

The demand was contained in a statement issued in Copenhagen yesterday by OSCE's controlling troika -- the foreign ministers of Denmark, Poland and Switzerland. Denmark is this year's chairman of OSCE.

The statement said the foreign ministers "expressed their disappointment with developments in Serbia." They said they "deplored the fact that the Belgrade government has still not unequivocally accepted the conclusions of the report drawn up by former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez."

Gonzalez led a high-ranking international team to Belgrade shortly before Christmas. It issued a report supporting opposition claims to have won victories in 14 major serbian towns.

In its statement, the OSCE troika called for "full and immediate implementation, in good faith, of the recommendations made in the Gonzalez report."

The statement said the ministers "stressed that in a democracy election results are not negotiable."

The statement said foreign ministers also "emphasized the need for early democratic reforms in the federal republic of Yugoslavia." They recalled OSCE's readiness to support the democratization process. They said a "constructive dialogue on this issue between government and opposition is needed," and said OSCE was ready to help bring it about.