A+ A-

US, EU, four Western nations welcome Serbia's Jan. 16 nat'l referendum

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (KUNA) -- The US, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the EU welcomed Friday Serbia's January 16 referendum on constitutional changes "as a key step to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the country's rule of law institutions".
In a joint statement, the Governments of the five nations and the EU said, "we believe that these reforms are a step forward towards Serbia's alignment with European standards and will support Serbia's EU accession process".
"We note with regret that the Kosovo government has not allowed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to collect ballots of eligible voters living in Kosovo for the upcoming referendum in accordance with past practice," the statement stressed.
They called on the Kosovo government "to allow Serbs in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in elections and electoral processes in accordance with this established practice".
They also call upon "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 unlocks the EU perspective and increases regional stability," they affirmed. (end) si.mb