OSCE debates doubling Ukraine monitors

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The European security organization OSCE is debating whether to nearly double the number of poll monitors at Ukraine's Dec. 26 election, the BBC reported Monday.

Foreign ministers from the 55-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, meeting Monday in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, are due to decide whether to increase the number of monitors to 1,000.


Ukraine's Supreme Court ruled Dec. 3 that the Nov. 21 presidential runoff, which declared Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner over opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, was fraudulent.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, the head of the OSCE, said the observers would ensure the election is free and fair.

He urged Ukrainian authorities to ensure the new vote was clean of fraud and called for unbiased reporting in state-controlled media.

Russia and some of its close neighbors are proposing a change in the OSCE's charter so that it focuses more on fighting international terrorism and less on issues of democracy and human rights within states, the BBC reported.

Such a clear shift would not be acceptable to many member countries, but Passy said the conference was expected to say that fighting terrorism was the top priority.


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