US spurns 'so-called' South Ossetia vote
The United States on Monday rejected this past weekend's "so-called" presidential elections in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region.
"The United States does not recognize the legitimacy or the outcome of these so-called presidential elections and referendum that were held in Georgia's South Ossetia region on November 13th," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
The breakaway region of South Ossetia on Sunday voted for a new leader for the first time since Moscow recognized its independence after the 2008 war with Tbilisi.
The polls, the first presidential elections since the 2008 war over South Ossetia, are seen as illegitimate by the West, which considers the tiny Caucasus mountain region to be an integral part of Georgia.
"We reiterate our strong support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity with its internationally recognized borders and we again urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including withdrawal of forces to pre-conflict positions and free access to humanitarian assistance to the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," the State Department spokesman said.
The Kremlin's choice to lead the rebel Georgian region failed to win a majority in Sunday's polls and now faces a November 27 run-off election.
Anatoly Bibilov, South Ossetia's emergencies minister whose candidacy was blessed by its main backer Moscow, tied in a virtual dead heat with former education minister Alla Dzhioyeva in Sunday's first round vote.
© 2011 AFP