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EU Ambassador responds EU official’s visit in de facto Tskhinvali

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, May 18
The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Georgia, Janos Herman, stated that the EU does not recognize the so-called presidential elections held in Georgia’s occupied region of South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) on April 9th.

Herman made the comment in response to a statement released by Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIA), which condemned the visit of EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Crisis in Georgia Herbert Salber in South Ossetia, who congratulated the ostensible ‘president’ Anatoly Bibilov on his new ‘post.’

With regards to this, Herman was summoned to the MFA office, where he had a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Dondua.

“What we recognize and support is the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. We spoke with the Deputy Minister about cooperation in this field,” said the Ambassador, adding that Herbert Salber would speak about the visit himself later.

Davit Dondua stressed that the steps made by Salber were “incomprehensible and unacceptable”.

“Herbert Salber’s action contradicts the principles of international law and does not support the efforts of Georgia and the international community aimed at the peaceful resolution of the conflict. We are in touch with the EU leadership and we hope that this will be properly responded to by Brussels," Dondua said.

However, the Deputy FM reiterated that the EU has always supported Georgia's territorial integrity and conflict resolution in compliance with the principles of international law.

"When the so-called elections and referendum was held in the Tskhinvali region, the EU was one of the first which condemned this provocative action on the territory of the Georgian Federation,” Dondua said.

EU representative Herbert Salber arrived in Russian-backed South Ossetia on May 16. He has not made any official statement about his visit yet.