US welcomes Kosovo elections

Despite attacks on polling stations in northern Kosovo, the US praised late Tuesday the country on its “historic” local elections, and called for a smooth transition into the next round of voting.

“We applaud the commitment of both the Governments of Kosovo and Serbia to encourage voter participation and enable the people of Kosovo to democratically choose their leaders,” said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf in a statement.

“The successful conduct of these elections is an important aspect of the implementation of the EU-facilitated Dialogue agreement to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia,” she added.

This was the first election where Serbs were able to vote, ever since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Kosovo is not recognized by Serbia, but more than 100,000 Serbs live in Kosovo, most of them in the north. The perpetrators of Sunday’s attacks on polling booths are not yet known.

Harf stressed that the US “condemns the attacks in Mitrovica North” and “looks to the relevant Kosovo authorities to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.” “We must not let the violence of a few overshadow the significant achievement this election represents,” she said, urging parties on all sides “to ensure the next phase of the election process is conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner.”

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