Kosovo sets terms for elections of other states in its territory

Michael Carpenter, United States Ambassador to the OSCE, said that the U.S. welcomes Serbia’s referendum approving amendments for judicial reform. 

“These amendments are a significant step towards depoliticizing Serbia’s judiciary in alignment with European standards and will support Serbia’s EU accession process,” he said.
 
Carpenter stressed that while the U.S. joined the European Union in calling on Serbian citizens to take part in the referendum, “let us be clear about the U.S. position on the rights of Kosovo as an independent and sovereign state to set the terms by which elections of other sovereign states are conducted in its territory.”
 
“We had hoped that the Kosovo government would continue the long-standing practice of permitting the OSCE to collect the ballots of eligible voters living in Kosovo, but it chose not to do so.  We commend the OSCE Mission in Kosovo for its willingness to once again, take on the task of assisting Serbs living in Kosovo to vote.  We look forward to discussing with our partners – both with the Government of Kosovo and the Government of Serbia – what arrangements and accommodations can be made to ensure citizens who respectively reside in Kosovo and Serbia can exercise their right to participate in their country’s elections and in so doing, to be able to chart their European futures.  We believe it to be unfortunate that Kosovo is not a member of this body and is, therefore, unable to speak for itself today.  We look forward to the day when Kosovo is a participating State of this organization and that can happen,” Carpenter said in his remarks to the Permanent Council in Vienna.
 
Carpenter further urged the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions and to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue.  “It is important that both governments achieve progress towards a comprehensive agreement that increases regional stability.”