De facto Abkhazia refuses to hold referendum on joining Russia

  • An official of de-facto Abkhazia says unlike Tskhinvali the region doesn’t want to join Russia. Photo by de-facto Government of Abkhazia., 10 Jun 2016 - 12:39, Tbilisi,Georgia

The de facto Prime Minister of Georgia’s western occupied Abkhazia region says the region does not plan on holding a referendum to join Russia.

The breakaway region’s de facto Prime Minister Arthur Mikvabia said Abkhazia wanted to be an "independent country” and a "loyal ally” of Russia but not part of Russia, quoted Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Mikvabia’s comments come after it emerged Georgia’s other occupied region, Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), planned to hold this type of referendum in 2017.

We do not oppose the referendum in South Ossetia. Tskhinvali’s motives are clear. Ossetians are divided, part of them now live in Russia and some in South Ossetia. Therefore, they have a desire to reunite,” de facto Abkhazia Prime Minister Mikvabia told RIA Novosti. 

We have a different situation. We want to be an independent country and a reliable and loyal ally of great Russia,” he said.

The proposed attempt of Takhinvali (South Ossetia) to hold a referendum about joining Russia has been strongly condemned by the Government of Georgia and almost the entire international community, as the majority of the world believes Tskhinvali and Abkhazia are integral parts of Georgia. 

Georgia’s Government said the planned referendum contradicted all international laws and regulations and had no legal base. 

Currently four countries recognise Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) as independent republics.

Russia and Nicaragua recognised Abkhazia’s and Tskhinvali’s independence in 2008 in the wake of the Russia-Georgia war. In 2009 Venezuela, Nauru and Tuvalu took the same step but after several years Vanuatu cancelled its view and said the regions were part of Georgia.