Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/georgia : Eu Condemns Referendum in South Ossetia

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/georgia : Eu Condemns Referendum in South Ossetia

Article excerpt

The European Union has made clear that it does not intend to recognise the referendum which took place in the South Ossetian region of Georgia on 12 November. The EU decided not to recognise either the outcome of the presidential elections organised in South Ossetia on the same day. In a statement, the Finnish EU Presidency reiterated its "full support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders". The referendum and presidential elections, according to EU officials, stay in contradiction to the "efforts for peaceful conflict resolution". The Georgian government denounced on 13 November the referendum in South Ossetia as illegitimate.

According to separatist leaders in South Ossetia, a region which split from Georgia after the war 14 years ago, 90% of voters declared on 12 November that they want independence from Tbilisi. This result and the outcome of the presidential elections are, however, unlikely to be recognised by any government. On the eve of the vote, NATO and other international organisations also condemned the referendum. In a statement on 11 November, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that he would reject the "so-called" referendum and elections. The European human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, denounced the referendum as "unnecessary, unhelpful and unfair".

Most observers stress that the vote could further strain relations within Georgia. The majority of South Ossetians, ethnically different from Georgians, hold Russian passports and use the Russian rouble. …

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