The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi “condemned” the decision to conduct “an illegitimate” referendum in Georgia’s South Ossetia region, scheduled for April 9.
“Such provocative actions erode trust and confidence and undermine the Geneva International Discussions,” the Embassy’s February 14 statement reads.
It also said that the U.S. will not recognize the results of an illegitimate referendum that is conducted “without explicit consent” of the Government of Georgia.
“Both the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions are integral parts of Georgia, and we reiterate our strong support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” the statement added.
The U.S. Embassy expressed its support for the Geneva International Discussions “as the forum to address the situation” in the two regions and "urged" its participants “to avoid actions, including the proposed referendum, which undermine these discussions.”
De facto South Ossetian Leader Leonid Tibilov signed a decree on February 6 setting the referendum on renaming the breakaway region to “the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania.” The referendum will be held together with the region’s presidential polls on April 9, 2017.
The proposed referendum drew a wide criticism in Tbilisi: Georgian officials issued statements on the referendum, calling it “illegal” and “unacceptable” and accusing the Russian Federation of wanting to annex the region.