Statement delivered by Albania on Kosovo’s right to exercise its sovereignty throughout its territory and on the voting rights of Albanians in Serbia Meeting 1367 of the Permanent Council Thursday, 7 April 2022, Vienna

Thank you, Mr. Chair,
 
Albania attaches high importance to the right of minorities to vote, in respect of the spirit and letter of international standard and practice. We welcome and support the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue and the practical steps towards the normalization of relations between the two countries.
 
We believe, however, that it is for the Republic of Kosovo to decide how elections of another country are held in Kosovo’s own territory. We respect and support the rule of law in Kosovo and its legitimate right to exercise its sovereignty throughout the country’s territory.
 
We welcome the steps undertaken by the institutions of Kosovo to facilitate the voting of Kosovo Serbs with dual citizenship in Serbia’s elections of 3 April 2022. Kosovo Police deployed a large presence along the routes to ensure smooth travel of voters to Serbia, as reported also by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo. Police also deployed additional staff at border crossing points to expedite crossing procedures.
                                                      
We appreciate the attention to this matter by Kosovo’s international allies and partners. A principled and equal approach towards all six countries of the Western Balkans is the cornerstone of preserving peace and stability and promoting the Euro-Atlantic integration processes.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
We have followed with special attention and concern the removal – or passivation – of the addresses of Albanians in Medvegja, Bujanovc and Preshevo from Serbia’s records systematically since 2011. It is believed that over 6,000 eligible Albanian voters have been disenfranchised due to this discriminatory policy. In June 2021, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia called it “a form of ethnic cleansing through administrative means”.
 
We note that European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, asked that the issue be included in the preliminary report of the Election Observation Mission, and also in the statement of the European Parliament.
 
Moreover, according to numerous reports, many Albanians of the Preshevo Valley, currently living outside Serbia, were left waiting long hours at the border, and were thus prevented from voting. We call on ODIHR and the High Commissioner on National Minorities to continue to follow these matters closely.
 
I kindly ask that my statement is attached to the journal of the day. Thank you!
 

Adresa

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