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U.S., EU Reject Abkhaz Elections

(RFE/RL) BRUSSELS, March 6, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The United States and the European Union have said they do not recognize the legitimacy of March 4 parliamentary elections in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement on March 5 that the elections -- organized by Abkhaz de facto authorities -- raise political tensions and detract from international efforts to achieve a settlement of the Abkhazia conflict.

Germany, which holds the EU's rotating Presidency, also issued a statement on March 5 saying Brussels "fully supports" Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

The German statement also says that before any election in Abkhazia can be considered valid, all refugees must be allowed to return to their homes.

Georgia's deputy representative to the United Nations said today that his government considers the elections in Abkhazia to be illegitimate. Irakli Chikovani also has called on the United Nations to condemn the poll.

(with material from Reuters, AP, AFP)

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