U.S. dismisses 'so-called' Abkhazia vote

Aug. 30, 2011 at 1:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Georgia is a sovereign state with internationally recognized borders, the U.S. State Department said after a breakaway republic held elections for a president.

Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy official at the European Union, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen each issued statements during the weekend in which they dismissed the Abkhazian presidential results.

Aleksandr Ankvab was elected in a weekend vote for president of Abkhazia, which is officially recognized as a nation only by Russia and a handful of other countries.

Georgia has refused to recognize the results. Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said in a statement to reporters Washington doesn't recognize the legitimacy or the results of the "so-called" elections in Abkhazia.

Moscow and Tbilisi traded insults Aug. 8, the third anniversary of a Russian military response to Georgia's invasion of the separatist republic of South Ossetia in 2008. The conflict spilled over to engulf forces from Abkhazia, another separatist region.

Moscow recognized both republics shortly after the conflict and signed agreements in 2010 to build permanent military installations in the breakaway regions.

"We reiterate our support for Georgia's sovereignty, territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders," stressed Nuland. "We urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 cease-fire agreement, including withdrawal of forces to pre-conflict positions and free access for humanitarian assistance to the territories."

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