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CoE Congress: Abkhazia, S. Ossetia Polls ‘Illegal’

The March 12 Parliamentary Elections in Abkhazia and the April 9 referendum in South Ossetia “are illegal and will do nothing to help restore Georgia’s legitimate sovereignty over these two regions,”  Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, President of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, said in her statement on March 21.

These initiatives “will just contribute to further isolating these regions from the international community,” Mosler-Törnström added.

“The Congress of the Council of Europe has always shown its commitment to the territorial integrity of member states and we believe that this integrity is the first guarantee of a positive development of the regional dimension in our countries,” she concluded.

The Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is a pan-European political assembly, the 648 members of which hold elective office representing over 200,000 authorities in 47 European states.

Voters in Abkhazia cast their ballots on March 12 to elect the region’s 35-member National Assembly.

Elections in the region were denounced as illegitimate by Tbilisi and the international community, including the United States, Poland, NATO, Canada, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland and Azerbaijan.

Voters in South Ossetia will go to polls on April 9 to elect their new leader. Simultaneously with presidential polls, Tskhinvali will also hold a referendum on renaming the region to “the South Ossetia – the State of Alania,” which drew wide criticism in Tbilisi.

South Ossetia polls were rejected by the United States, Japan and Poland.

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