(osce) - The Secretary General of the OSCE and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe issued the following statement today on local elections in Albania:
"The Albanian people have the right to free and fair elections, untainted by irregularities and fraud. Against the background of serious difficulties in the preparation of the forthcoming local elections, we welcome the initiative of the President of Albania to convene a meeting of all political parties in an attempt to find an agreement on arrangements for the elections to be held in accordance with Albanian law and international standards.
We urge the leaders of all political parties to attend this meeting and demonstrate the highest possible degree of responsibility in the search for an agreement. This is in the clear interest of Albania and its international reputation, reports Trend.
The international community will continue to provide assistance in the electoral process, but cannot replace the Albanian political parties in discharging their responsibilities towards the Albanian people.
Following the publication of the interim report of the Election Observation Mission, the international election observers will continue to follow closely all further developments. A pre-electoral observation team from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe will visit Albania from 10 to 14 January."