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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release September 15, 1997

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

Success of Bosnian Elections

The success of this weekend's local elections in Bosnia is due in large part to the expertise and dedication of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), along with unstinting support from SFOR and energetic assistance from the UN-International Police, the Office of the High Representative and countless other international organizations and nations.

More than 2600 OSCE supervisors and monitors (including over 500 Americans) helped to assure the integrity of the elections. SFOR, in coordination with the UN-IPTF and local police, assured a secure environment. The Office of the High Representative and many others worked with the OSCE and the parties to facilitate the rapid resolution of incidents and disputes that might otherwise have disrupted this complex and sensitive process. These elections are a tribute to the Bosnian people. The grassroots elections are an important milestone along the road to peace and reconciliation and have restored to the ordinary Bosnian what the extremists have tried to take away - the right of the people to choose their government without intimidation and fear. That they could proceed relatively free of disturbance is a welcome reminder of how far Bosnia has come since the guns were silenced barely two years ago.

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