OSCE Permanent Council Condemns Referendum in Georgia’s Breakaway Tskhinvali

The Georgian delegation to the OSCE, headed by Ambassador Konstantine Zaldastanishvili, held discussions with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council concerning the illegal referendum in Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region, scheduled for April 9.

The international community acknowledges that the referendum in Georgia’s South Ossetia region is illegal and unconstitutional. Despite this, Leonid Tibilov, ostensible President of South Ossetia, announced a referendum to rename South Ossetia “South Ossetia-Alania” which he says is “a historic name.” He said the referendum would be held on April 9, 2017 along with presidential elections.

The Georgian delegation stressed that this referendum lays the ground for the illegal annexation of the occupied Tskhinvali region. They stressed the fact that holding a referendum in an occupied territory is illegal and illegitimate.

The Georgian delegation stressed that they believe this is an act of aggression by the Russian Federation, and that they believe the Russian Federation is willfully ignoring the fundamental principals of territorial integrity and the inviolability of the borders of a soverein state in order to undermine the established order. Georgians called on the international community to take appropriate measures against the illegal actions of the Russian Federation; to spare no effort to avoid the escalation of the situation in the Tskhinvali region; and to prevent another instance of illegal annexation in Europe.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the representatives of the United States, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Norway, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the European Union supported Georgia.

Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova, San Marino, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia agreed with the statement made by 28 member states of the EU.

“The delegations once again reaffirmed their firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders,” the MFA statement reads.

The EU representative expressed deep concern regarding the illegal referendum and stated that the EU does not consider the referendum constitutional.

“It was stressed that such illegal steps are against the ongoing efforts to strengthen security and stability in the region. The EU called on the Russian Federation to fulfill its obligations under the ceasefire agreement of August 12, 2008, and its subsequent implementing measures of September 8, 2008, and to provide the EUMM access to the occupied regions,” MFA said.

The issue of the illegal referendum was also raised by Georgian delegates at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies of the Council of Europe.

Thea Morrison

20 February 2017 18:24