The United States on Monday dismissed elections in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia as illegitimate, and renewed support for what it called Georgia’s internationally-recognized borders.
In polls on Saturday that were widely seen as illegitimate, Abkhazia elected Alexander Ankvaba, a top politician who advocates firm ties with Russia, as the new president of the rebel Georgian region.
“The United States does not recognize the legitimacy or the results of the August 26 so-called elections in the Abkhazia region of Georgia,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Abkhazia broke away from Georgia after a devastating civil war in the 1990s. But its independence claim has only been recognised by Russia and a handful of far-flung states, following Moscow’s 2008 war with Georgia.
Symbolically, the vote coincided with the third anniversary of Moscow’s recognition of Abkhazia and fellow breakaway Georgian region South Ossetia as independent states, a move that was slammed by the West.
Nuland said: “We reiterate our support for Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders.”
She added: “We urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement including withdrawal of forces to pre-conflict positions and free access for humanitarian assistance to the territories.”