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PRESS CONFERENCE BY GEORGIA ON ELECTIONS IN ABKHAZIA

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

5 March 2007

Irakli Chikovani, Deputy Permanent Representative of Georgia, called on the international community to condemn local and parliamentary elections held recently in Abkhazia, Georgia, saying they were “illegitimate acts” that his Government considered “null and void”.

Speaking to reporters at a Headquarters press conference this morning, Mr. Chikovani said those elections, held on 11 February and 4 March, had been held without the participation of a large majority of the population, which, he stressed, had been expelled from the region as a result of ethnic cleansing. “This fact was reflected in the final documents of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” he said.

He explained that an exiled Abkhaz government did exist in Georgia, operating out of Upper Abkhazia -- a region controlled by his Government.

Similar instances of ethnic cleansing had taken place in South Ossetia, he said, in response to one reporter’s query about elections that had taken place in neighbouring areas. “People who resided in those regions are not there. They are internally displaced people, living in other parts of Georgia and other countries.”

Mr. Chikovani also told reporters that Abkhaz paramilitary units had opened fire on local students, of both Georgian and Abkhaz ethnicity, who had demonstrated against the elections. Three of those students were currently being detained by Abkhaz authorities, with no news on when they would be released.

According to the Deputy Permanent Representative, a resolution on the situation in Georgia would be put forward to the Security Council in April, in which he hoped those elections would be condemned as illegal.

He said the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), headquartered in Abkhazia, was a vital presence in the region, for observing implementation of the peace agreement there.

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For information media • not an official record



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