UN does not recognize elections in Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Abkhazia and South Ossetia sealing off their border crossings with Georgia proper, the ongoing incorporation of their armed forces into Russia’s, the plans by South Ossetia to hold a referendum on joining Russia – these issues topped the agenda at the UN Security Council’s meeting held behind closed doors on Monday.
The moves are all part of Russia’s attempts to consolidate its seizure of Georgian territories, Ukraine had argued as it brought the issues up for discussion by the Council.
“For as long as Ukraine remains a member of the UN Security Council, it will make sure that these problems of Georgia [which is not a member of the Council] are not overlooked,” Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vladimir Ilchenko said.
‘Most members of the Security Council agree that the recent developments are cause for concern in that they endanger human rights in the region,’ he said. ‘Contrary to what is widely believed, the conflicts over Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not ‘frozen’,’ Ilchenko said, adding that “all members of the Security Council, except for one, expressed support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia”.
Ukraine’s delegates in the Security Council requested that it issue a special statement denouncing the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, however Russia blocked the initiative. In informal comments to media after the Council meeting, UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft said:
“In my national capacity I can say that I express our concern about recent developments in Georgia, including the reduction of the administrative boundary line crossing points to and from Abkhazia, which affected the freedom of movement for the local populations. We do not recognize the parliamentary election that took place in Abkhazia on the 12th of March. These political developments, along with the upcoming so-called presidential elections and referendum on a change of name in South Ossetia do not contribute to achieving a lasting solution to the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
The Russian delegation begs to differ.
“Everybody should get used to the fact that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are independent countries,” Russia’s acting envoy to the UN Petr Ilyichev said.
– Over the past few weeks Moscow deployed additional military equipment in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and integrated the latter’s military units into the Russian military forces. The period has also seen a new number of checkpoints closed on the Abkhaz administrative boundary line.
– South Ossetia is due to elect a new president on 9 April. On that same day, it will hold a referendum on whether it should change its name to “South Ossetia – State of Alania”. According to some estimates, 55,000 people live in South Ossetia today. 39,000 of them have the right to vote.