Georgia’s breakaway region calls for referendum to join Russia

Tskhinvali Parliament speaker Anatoly Bibilov: Photo by ITAR-TASS/Mitya Aleshkovsky, 24 Jun 2014 - 11:56, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s breakaway region calls for referendum to join RussiaThe newly elected Parliament of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia/Tskhinvali is calling for a referendum to see the region join Russia.

Russia’s news agency ITAR TASS reported elected speaker of the breakaway South Ossetian Parliament Anatoly Bibilov, whose United Ossetia party won the majority of seats in the June 8 elections, would put the question of accession to Russia in a referendum.

"We do not deny our slogans [and] the question will be put to a referendum but this should be undertaken by a completely formed, consolidated working Parliament,” Bibilov told ITAR TASS.

According to the Tskhinvali-based news agency, Bibilov’s United Ossetia won 20 seats in the 34-member Parliament. The Unity of People’s party, led by head of Java district Vladimir Kelekhsaev, won six seats and the People’s Party and Nikhas Party hold four seats each.

When addressing the inaugural session of the new legislative body, breakaway region leader Leonid Tibilov said among the priorities facing the Government was forging South Ossetia’s "further integration into the Russian space”.

The June 8 Parliamentary election was not recognised by Georgia or the European Union (EU). South Ossetia has been a breakaway region of Georgia since 1992-93.

Tbilisi officials do not recognise the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions and officially consider them (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) as sovereign territory of the country.

"Talks about a referendum and even the elections in Georgia’s occupied territories are violations of international laws [and] the international society will not recognise the activities of them,” Georgia Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said speaking form Brussels.

Meanwhile, United States Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland said Washington reiterated its full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders.

"We don’t recognise Georgia’s occupied territories as independent units thus we could not understand what kind of meaning this referendum could have,” Norland said.

He believed it would be better if people living on both sides of boundary lines find ways to collaborate to reduce poverty in the area.

South Ossetia is recognized as an independent state by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.Tuvalu, a Polynesian island nation located between Hawaii and Australia in the Pacific Ocean, recognized Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s so-called sovereignty in 2011 but revoked this decision on March 31, 2014, after its official delegation visited the Georgian capital city Tbilisi.