The United States would like to take advantage of the recent release of the final report of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission to once again congratulate the people of Mongolia on their June 26th Presidential election. As the report makes clear, the election was peaceful, voter participation was high, and the election was generally conducted in a free and fair manner in accordance with the Mongolian constitution. It is particularly noteworthy that on election day, members of the Observation Mission gave a positive assessment to 99 percent of the polling stations observed – a true testament to the dedication of Mongolia’s public servants to ensure the integrity of Mongolia’s electoral system. These elections demonstrate Mongolia’s continued commitment to the further development of the principles of democracy and free and fair elections.
Of course, the final report highlighted several areas for Mongolia to focus on improving in order to fully meet its OSCE commitments. Notable recommendations cover areas such as media and freedom of expression; election administration; and maintaining the secrecy of the ballot. The United States encourages Mongolia to implement all of the Report’s recommendations, and we encourage ODIHR to assist Mongolia in this effort where appropriate.
We thank the government of Mongolia for its close cooperation with the Election Observation Mission. After more than two decades of impressive democratic and market economic transformation, Mongolia continues to serve as a positive example for emerging democracies around the world. However, not content to rest on its laurels, Mongolia continues to work hard to strengthen its democracy. This report will serve as an important tool for Mongolia to achieve this goal.
Finally, the United States is proud to have contributed election observers to this mission. We express our appreciation for the wide-range of support to the election provided by other participating States as well. We would also like to thank ODIHR for organizing an unbiased and professional monitoring team. Being the first such ODIHR mission in Mongolia presented several logistical and organizational challenges, from mapping the location of polling stations to identifying enough qualified interpreters. The Mission overcame these challenges and provided a valuable service to the OSCE’s newest participating State.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm the United States’ strong support for Mongolia’s request for a Field Presence in Mongolia. We believe that this request should be given due consideration in the near term and – as has been our past practice – the OSCE participating States should not deny such a request from a participating State.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.