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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

World Praises Bosnian Election

Russian diplomats led a chorus of world praise for the elections in Bosnia, which despite charges of widespread voting irregularities passed off without violence in a land only recently torn by the bloodiest, bitterest fighting in Europe since World War II.


Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov hailed the voting as a move toward rebuilding peace and prosperity in the region. "A very important step for normalizing the life of all peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been made. Conditions have been created for a further development of the peace process, an economic and social revival,'' he said in a statement.


Primakov said Moscow would continue to support peace efforts in Bosnia and try to help improve relations in the region. Moscow has been a strong ally of Serbia. "Russia and other leading factors in the Bosnian settlement will continue to contribute to the implementation of the peace agreement, which had been worked out with Moscow's participation, and develop bilateral relations with the countries of the region,'' he said.


China echoed these kudos for the troubled elections. "We hope that parties involved will seize the opportunity, bury their hatchets, and co-exist peacefully in striving for peace, stability and development of the region," the Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang as saying.


France also praised the Bosnian polling, noting the high voter turnout as an especially hopeful sign. "France hails this process to which it will continue to give all its support, along with the European Union," Foreign Minister Herve de Charette said in a statement.


"Despite an impassioned context and some incidents, the voting took place in a satisfactory manner overall," he said. "Although it is too early to pre-judge the results, one can note that almost two out of three electors voted."


NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said Monday he was pleased with the overall conduct of elections in Bosnia, and urged newly elected officials to start working together soon.


"IFOR's main contribution was in ensuring that the elections took place peacefully, without major incidents or disturbances," Solana said.


One thing IFOR did not do during the elections was to arrest former Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic when he went to cast a ballot in a village near the Bosnian Serb stronghold, Pale. Admiral Joseph Lopez, commander of NATO's 53,000-strong peace force, mandated to arrest those indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague if they are spotted during patrols, said his men did not see Karadzic vote.


The former Bosnian Serb president was eligible to cast a ballot as a registered citizen of Bosnia without a criminal conviction and did so in mid-afternoon in Brakovac, part of the Pale municipality, a UN spokesman said.


Alex Ivanko of the International Police Task Force, or UN monitors, said: "The voter on the most-wanted list voted at polling station No. 6 in Brakovac between 3 and 4 p.m."


Karadzic, who has laid low since quitting Serb politics in July under international pressure, has not been arrested although NATO troops regularly patrol his base town, Pale.