EU, NATO refuse to recognise Abkhazia elections
The European Union and NATO refused on Saturday to recognise elections in Georgia's rebel region of Abkhazia, as they reiterated their support for the territorial integrity of Georgia.
"The holding of such elections does not contribute to a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement stating that the 28-nation alliance did not recognise Friday's elections.
"The Alliance reiterates its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders," Rasmussen added.
The spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton echoed in a statement: "The European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place.
"The European Union reiterates its support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognised by international law," the statement said.
"The European Union would in this context like to emphasize the importance of the Geneva International Discussions in ensuring the security and stability in the region."
Alexander Ankvab, who has served as prime minister of Abkhazia and vice president over the last half decade, was elected as the new president of the breakaway region in Friday's polls, officials said Saturday.
The election coincided with the third anniversary of Moscow's recognition of Abkhazia and another rebel region, South Ossetia, as independent states following Russia's five-day war with Georgia in 2008.
The conflict between Russia and Georgia caused deep tensions between NATO and Moscow, its former Cold War rival.
NATO-Russian relations have warmed up since then, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attending a summit with alliance leaders at a summit in Lisbon in November 2010 to patch things up.
© 2011 AFP