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Int’l Community Denounces Abkhaz Polls, Continued Occupation of Georgia

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Georgia and its international partners denounce March 22 repeat “presidential polls” in Moscow-backed region of Abkhazia.

Peter Stano, Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union said in a statement released on March 23, that the EU “does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework” of the March 22 “presidential polls” in Abkhazia.

He further stated that the European Union “supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognised by international law.” “The EU will continue to pursue its policy of non-recognition and engagement. The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia remains fully mobilised in this regard,” noted Stano.

March 22 polls in Moscow-backed region in which opposition’s Aslan Bzhania claimed victory was called after local court declared September 2019 leadership runoffs invalid on January 12, that was soon followed by Moscow-facilitated resignation of Raul Khajimba later that day.

A number of other countries have also denounced Abkhazia polls, including Azerbaijan, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

German Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson also issued a statement on March 25, saying the German Government “stands resolutely shoulder to shoulder with Georgia as regards its sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognised borders.”

“Like our partners in the EU, we do not recognise the constitutional or legal framework for the so-called ‘presidential elections’ held in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia on 22 March. We regard these ‘elections’ and their outcome as illegal,” reads the statement.

The OSCE Group of Friends of Georgia, which includes Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have also released a joint statement expressing their deep concern over the “continued occupation” of Georgia.

Calling on Russia “to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the group urged Moscow “to fulfill all of its obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement, including the withdrawal of its forces to their positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities and the provision of free access for humanitarian assistance to these regions.”

James Appathurai. NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, also wrote on Facebook that “NATO does not recognise the so-called elections” which took place in the Georgian region of Abkhazia on March 22, and “continues to support Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders.”

In a statement of March 22,  the Georgian Foreign Ministry noted that the “presidential elections” in occupied Abkhazia region “fully contradict the fundamental norms and principles of international law and blatantly violate Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Calling on the international community “to give a due assessment and take effective measures to counter the illegal processes taking place” there, the Foreign Ministry said these polls represent “yet another futile attempt to legitimize the ethnic cleansing, the ongoing illegal occupation and factual annexation process in Abkhazia region.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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