US Embassy: United States Condemns Planned Illegitimate Referendum in South Ossetia

TBILISI –The United States (US) embassy to Georgia released a statement yesterday, condemning the decision to conduct an illegitimate “referendum” in Georgia’s South Ossetia region, planned for April 9. 

“Such provocative actions erode trust and confidence and undermine the Geneva International Discussions,” the statement reads.

The embassy says that the US will not recognize the results of an illegitimate referendum that is conducted in Georgian territory without the explicit consent of the Government of Georgia.

“Both the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions are integral parts of Georgia, and we reiterate our strong support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” the embassy wrote on its web-site.

Moreover, the statement reads that United States supports the Geneva International Discussions as the forum to address the situation in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. 

“We urge all participants to avoid actions, including the proposed referendum, which undermine these discussions,” the statement of the embassy reads.

Leonid Tibilov, ostensible President of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia, announced a referendum to rename South Ossetia Alania, “a historic name.”

The information was released by Ossetian news agency PEC, which says that the referendum will be held on April 9, 2017, with the presidential elections.

Georgia's President, Giorgi Margvelashvili commented on the issue a week ago, saying that any attempt to change the name of Georgia's occupied region, without the consent of the Georgian government, is an action against Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is a step towards further annexation of the occupied territories.

The president urged the Russian Federation to fulfill its international obligations and take real steps towards the deoccupation of Georgian territories.

Margvelashvili also called on the international community to prevent any attempt at legitimization of the plebiscite or election.

By Thea Morrison

15 February 2017 12:53