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UN Hails Success Of Kosovo Assembly Elections

UN Envoy To Kosovo Hails Success Of Assembly Elections

Offering congratulations on the "peaceful and well-organized" conduct of this weekend's elections in Kosovo, the Senior United Nations envoy there said despite the low turnout of Kosovo Serbs they would be represented in the province's assembly.

"This is a success for the people of Kosovo," said Søren Jessen-Petersen after spending the day touring polling stations throughout Kosovo.

The envoy said he was pleased young and old alike had cast their votes peacefully. He added that everywhere he went voters expressed the expectation that politicians would work towards a better future for Kosovo, including jobs, education and safety.

When asked about the low turnout among Kosovo Serbs, Mr. Jessen-Petersen stressed that the parties representing Kosovo Serbs who made the decision to participate at a late stage were left with little time for campaigning. In addition, there had been instances where voters may have been dissuaded from voting, he said.

While acknowledging that many who would have liked to vote did not because they were afraid, he pointed out that there were those who did vote, including some in areas where not a single party had campaigned, and this meant that there would be Kosovo Serb representatives in the assembly.

'This is the important thing, there will be representatives who will be part of the dialogue, and we will now reach out not only to all voters in all communities who did vote but also to those who wanted to vote but were afraid, because they also share a common interest in the future of Kosovo," he said. During a visit to polling stations, the envoy said as soon the final results are published, the political parties should "first of all accept them and get down to work."

Mr. Jessen-Petersen appealed to those elected to move swiftly. "We don't have a lot of time," he said. "If you want to move Kosovo forward, get down to work as quickly as possible, get on with it."

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