NATO refuses to recognise Abkhazia elections
NATO refused Saturday to recognise elections in Georgia's rebel region of Abkhazia, saying such polls do not contribute to the peaceful resolution of regional tensions.
"NATO does not recognise the elections held on August 26 in the Georgian region of Abkhazia," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.
"The holding of such elections does not contribute to a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia," he said.
"The Alliance reiterates its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders," Rasmussen added.
Voters went to the polls on Friday to elect a third leader in the tumultuous period since it broke from Georgia in the 1990s, a move recognised only by Russia and a few states. The vote follows the death of veteran president Sergei Bagapsh after lung surgery.
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