15 countries release joint statement condemning ‘presidential elections’ in Russia-occupied Abkhazia

Poland was the initiator of the statement the 15 states have released today. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 26 Aug 2019 - 13:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Fifteen states have released a joint statement condemning the ‘presidential elections’ Georgia’s Russia-occupied Abkhazia region held yesterday.

The countries have called on Russia to withdraw its recognition of the ‘independence’ of Russia-occupied Tskhinvali and Abkhazia regions of Georgia. 

Poland was the initiator of the statement the 15 states have released today.

The United States, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Estonia, Ireland, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, Finland and the Czech Republic are the signatories to the statement. 

The countries also condemned the ‘parliamentary elections’ held on June 9, 2019 in the Russia-occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region.

“We reiterate full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders,” the statement reads. 

We call on Russia to fulfill the commitments of 2008 Ceasefire Agreement including the return of its troops on the pre-conflict positions, ensure free access to humanitarian aid in the regions and withdraw the recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions,” the 15 countries state. 

Yesterday, Georgian Foreign Ministry also released a statement stating “the so-called ‘presidential elections’ are yet another futile attempt to legalise ethnic cleansing, ongoing illegal occupation and factual annexation in the region of Abkhazia.”

The German Embassy to Georgia told Georgian TV channel Imedi TV that Germany does not recognize the Abkhaz ‘elections’ and noted that Germany did not send observers there. 

The comment was made in response to two German officials independently going to Abkhazia to observe the ‘presidential elections’.  The Embassy stated that the two politicians – Gunnar Lindemann and Stefan Keuter - had not been sent by the German government and they went there of their own accord. 

Georgian Foreign Ministry official Vladimir Konstantinidi stated the two German politicians that went to Abkhazia to observe the ‘parliamentary elections’ are ‘influenced by Russia.’

He said Russia financed their visit to the occupied region of Abkhazia adding they were not authorized to visit Abkhazia by the state bodies they represent.