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South Ossetia to hold referendum on joining Russia in July

On July 17, a referendum will be organized in South Ossetia on the attachment of this territory of the Caucasus (whose independence vis-à-vis Georgia is not recognized by the latter) to Russia: this is what provides for a decree signed on May 13 by the President of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov.

“It’s not just a partnership or a friendship. Rather, it is a relationship of trust between two brothers, where the elder brother will always understand and support with words and deeds, and the younger brother will honor and help the elder. At the same time, fully realizing self-sufficiency and equal rights for everyone. It is time to unite,” said the leader.

As a reminder, the Republic of South Ossetia was born of a secession from Georgia in 1992 but its independence is not recognized to date either by Georgia or by the UN. Russia, on the other hand, recognized the independence of South Ossetia as well as that of another territory, Abkhazia, after a flash conflict between Tbilisi and Moscow in 2008. Russian forces are stationed there from.

A few other countries have recognized the independence of South Ossetia, including Syria and Venezuela.

An “unacceptable” project for Georgia

The project of referendum on an attachment of South Ossetia had been evoked as of March 30 last by Anatoly Bibilov. The Georgian authorities then expressed their strong opposition. “It is unacceptable to speak of a referendum when this territory is occupied by Russia,” declared the head of Georgian diplomacy, David Zalkaliani, on March 31.

Moscow, for its part, had shown restraint. Asked about the subject at the end of March, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov notably declared: “I cannot express any position. We have taken no legal or other action in this regard. At the same time, in this specific case, it is the opinion of the people of South Ossetia that he expresses. We respect him.”

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