NEWS AND ANALYSIS - COUNTDOWN TO INDEPENDENCE
18 October 2004 – Voicing deep concern at attempts to dissuade Kosovo’s ethnic Serb population from participating in this Saturday’s elections, the senior United Nations envoy there today urged all Serbs to vote so they can play their part in rebuilding the troubled province.“Only those who take action to overcome isolation can change the present to a better future,” Søren Jessen-Petersen, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said in a statement issued in Pristina.“Voting on Saturday means becoming an active part of the institutional life in Kosovo,” he said. “It means standing up for your interests, rights and concerns. Those urging Kosovo Serbs not to vote simply do not have in mind the interest of their own people.”The envoy’s comments came in reaction to recent statements and actions aimed at persuading Serbs to stay away from the polls for the Kosovo Assembly, a legislative body which has power to pass laws in certain areas.Mr. Jessen-Petersen also said that UNMIK and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) – which is responsible for maintaining security in the province – were working hard to ensure that election day is safe and quiet.
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