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PM protest over Russia’s annexing Georgian land

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, February 10
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, has responded to the most recent claims of the country’s de facto independent South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) region over changing the region's name, and accused Russia of taking further steps to annexe historic territories of Georgia.

“In response to Georgia's peaceful policy and efforts seeking reconciliation and confidence building between the populations divided by occupation lines, Russia, unfortunately, continues to take steps towards increased isolation and annexation of Georgia's occupied territories,” the PM said.

“This is evident by the recent decision to hold a referendum on naming the Tskhinvali region similarly to a subject of the Russian Federation, which once again exposes the true intentions of the occupant power to incorporate Georgia's integral regions,” the PM added.

Kvirikashvili said that based on international law, it is unlawful and unacceptable to hold a referendum in a region from which tens of thousands of residents have been expelled as a result of ethnic cleansing, and where effective control is exercised by the occupant power.

“I urge the international community to consolidate forces and stop the Russian Federation's provocative actions, to prevent violations of the territorial integrity of sovereign state and imposition of practice of unlawful annexation, which undermines the region's stability and the international system stemming from democratic values,” Kvirikashvili stated.

The de facto President of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, has stated the breakaway region will hold a plebiscite about the change of its name on the same day it will hold its so-called presidential election on April 9.

Tibilov stated that “the Republic of South Ossetia” should be changed to the State of Alania.

The proposed name sounds like North Ossetia-Alania, which is now a part of Russia Federation.

The de facto leader highlighted this move would lead to ‘the republic to return its historic name”.

“Any attempt to change the occupied region’s name without the consent of the central government of Georgia is an attempt to violate Georgia’s sovereignty and yet another step towards further annexation of the occupied territories of Georgia,” said President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili.