|US rejects vote in rebel Abkhazia|
|March 12, 2012|
The United States on Monday refused to recognize elections in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia and urged Russia to withdraw its troops in the area to positions before the 2008 war.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner voiced "our concern about the so-called parliamentary elections" in Abkhazia, a Black Sea region which along with South Ossetia is recognized only by Russia and a few far-flung states.
"The United States does not recognize their legitimacy and, in fact, we want to take this occasion to reiterate our support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized border," Toner told reporters.
"We also urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 cease-fire agreement, including withdrawal of forces to pre-conflict positions, and free access (for) humanitarian assistance to Abkhazia and South Ossetia," he said.
Georgia said that Saturday's election was illegitimate as they were held under Kremlin "occupation" -- a reference to thousands of Russian troops stationed there since the 2008 war.
The vote comes less than a month after Abkhazia's leader Alexander Ankvab survived an assassination attempt which killed one of his bodyguards.
Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.
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