Statement by the Prime Minister of Georgia on holding the referendum in the Tskhinvali region

In response to Georgia's peaceful policy and efforts seeking reconciliation and

confidence building between the populations divided by occupation lines, the Russian

Federation, unfortunately, continues to take steps towards increased isolation and

annexation of Georgia's occupied territories.

This is evidenced by the recent decision to hold a referendum on naming the Tskhinvali

Region similarly to a subject of the Russian Federation, which once again exposes the

true intentions of the occupant power to incorporate Georgia's integral regions.

According to the international law, it is unlawful and unacceptable to hold a referendum

in a region from which tens of thousands of residents have been expelled as a result of

ethnic cleansing, and where effective control is exercised by the occupant power.

I urge the international community to join forces and stand up to the Russian

Federation's provocative actions, to prevent violations of the territorial integrity of

sovereign states and imposition of practice of unlawful annexation, which undermines

the region's stability and the international system stemming from democratic values.