Frowick Angers OSCE Staff with Spin on
SARAJEVO, June 5 (AP)-- The U.S. envoy heading efforts to organize elections in Bosnia had a message for his staff Wednesday: accentuate the positive instead of dwelling only on the negative. Ambassador Robert Frowick, Sarajevo representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, must recommend soon whether elections called for in the Dayton peace agreement can be held in September as planned.
Frowick is widely expected to endorse a September date, despite evidence of major obstacles to free and fair voting and calls by Bosnian officials for a delay. He indicated Monday it would take a new outbreak of fighting to force a delay. The United States and other Western powers want the Dayton agreement adhered to as closely as possible. They have sent thousands of troops in a NATO-led force to help implement the plan, which calls for the foreign troops to leave in December.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that unidentified OSCE officials accused Frowick of ordering the groupís reports on the Bosnian situation to accentuate positive developments.
Frowick said he had to consider many factors in assessing the chances of holding a successful election. He said OSCE human rights monitors had catalogued problems, but that it was important to note positive developments as well.
"This is what Iím trying to establish in the consciousness of everybody, that a start has been made," Frowick said. "In terms of a democratization process, in some cases the start is rather shallow, rather thin, but thereís something there thatís happened."
Frowickís comments, made to a freelance journalist, were provided to The Associated Press. He cited a halt in fighting and separation of warring armies, free movement in large parts of the former war zone and increased freedom of expression. "I donít see any attention to (progress) in reportage, ever," Frowick said.
Costs also could play a role, he indicated, noting that the OSCE was strained by what he called the largest project in its history. "Thereís every desire to downsize rapidly as soon as these elections are over," Frowick said. "So I have to be realistic. Iíd like to be able to prepare for these (elections) at the turn of the century or something, but I canít do it. Iíve got to do it in the timeframe thatís specified in the peace agreement."
No one expects problem-free elections in Bosnia. Frowick said the timing was unrealistic if the intent was to establish democracy as "understood in the democratic countries of the world."
OSCE in Bosnia
Berserkistan, June 4 · Major Powers: Elections Must Stay on Schedule
Berserkistan, June 3 · Voter Registration Begins in Bosnia
Berserkistan, June 2 · Bosniaís Elections Remain on Track Despite Karadzic
Berserkistan, May 30 · EU Administrator Sets Mostar Elections for June 30
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