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Georgia Irked By EU Envoy's Alleged Remarks In South Ossetia


Herbert Salber, the EU special representative for the South Caucasus

TBILISI -- The Georgian Foreign Ministry summoned the European Union's ambassador on May 17 to complain about what it said were inappropriate comments by an EU envoy during a visit to breakaway South Ossetia.

Georgian officials say that Herbert Salber, the EU special representative for the South Caucasus, congratulated Anatoly Bibilov on winning the presidential election held by the separatists on April 9.

After meeting with EU Ambassador Janos Herman, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua told journalists that Salber made remarks that were unacceptable and contradict international law, as well as the EU's official position.

Herman said that the EU does not recognize the election in South Ossetia and that it supports Georgia's internationally recognized sovereignty and territorial integrity. He did not comment directly on Salber's alleged remarks

South Ossetia broke from central govenment control in a war in 1991-92, and Russia recognized it as an independent state after fighting a five-day war against Georgia in 2008.

Only a handful of countries followed suit, while the vast majority consider Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be regions of Georgia.