LJUBLJANA, 25 October 2010 - Directors of the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) Bakhatyar Aljaf and Zijad Bećirović today received Secretary-General of the IDEA International Institute from Stockholm (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance) Vidar Helgesen who was accompanied by Karin Gardes-Koutny, Director for International Relations at IDEA, and Goran Fejić, advisor to IDEA's Secretary-General.

Secretary-General Helgesen was interested in the activities carried out by the IFIMES International Institute in the Balkan and Middle East regions. IFIMES directors therefore presented the Institute's endeavours related to the Middle East and especially to the Balkan region, whereby they laid stress on Serbia. Namely, this country is currently facing a deep institutional crisis, which is reflected in a poorly managed judicial reform, non-election of over 650 judges and prosecutors who did not fit in the present regime, and the implementation of the Seizure of Criminal Property Act which enables the state to seize the property of individuals and companies before the conclusion of the court proceedings similar to confiscation of property during post Second World War communist regime. The situation is alarming also in the south Serbian region of Sandžak where an armed conflict may be expected unless the European Union sends its observers to this region as soon as possible. IFIMES Director Bećirović also mentioned current events in Kosovo in the light of the forthcoming parliamentary elections and the status of the northern part of Kosovo with its centre in Kosovska Mitrovica. He stressed that Kosovo urgently needs regionalisation and co-operation of Serb representatives in the political dialogue.

The guests from Sweden presented the activities of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) which operates as an intergovernmental organisation with the head office in Stockholm. Its programmes are aimed at providing knowledge to support sustainable democratic change, to assist in democratic reforms, to influence development policies and to perform various analyses.

Ljubljana, 25 October 2010

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