South Ossetia will vote on annexation to Russia and reunification with North Ossetia
According to the radio Sputnik (Russia), Bibilov said that South Ossetia was conducting consultations with Moscow and that the referendums could take place after April 10.
However, he noted that direct annexation to Russia and reunification with North Ossetia would not occur simultaneously as this is not permitted by law. The leader stressed that only when South Ossetia is part of the Russian Federation, the process of reunification of Ossetia will take place and then two referendums will be required.
Earlier, Mr. Bibilov said that the country will soon carry out legal procedures to become part of Russia. He noted that the opportunity to realize this “strategic goal” returned in 2014, after the annexation of Crimea into Russia following a referendum.
“I believe that reunification with Russia is our strategic goal. This is the way and the aspiration of our people. We will move forward along this path. Legal proceedings will be carried out in the near future. South Ossetia will become part of the historic motherland Russia.” Mr. Bibilov said.
Before the proposal of South Ossetia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on March 31 that Russia respects South Ossetia’s desire to join. Peskov said Russia is not currently taking legal or other action regarding South Ossetia’s desire to hold a referendum.
Meanwhile, the Georgian foreign minister said South Ossetia’s plan to hold a referendum on Russia’s annexation was “unacceptable”.
Last month, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington would not accept South Ossetia’s accession to Russia, as the US had reaffirmed its commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity. According to the statement, the decision will be made in the same way that Washington does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia, and subsequently the independence of the two self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia is located in the South Caucasus, sharing a border with Georgia, and to the north by Russia. Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria have all recognized South Ossetia as a sovereign state. However, Georgia does not recognize South Ossetia as an independent state, the Georgian Government and most UN members also consider the territory to be part of Georgia and refer to it as the Tskhinvali region.
After the five-day conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, the South Ossetian leadership expressed a desire to become part of the Russian Federation, since North Ossetia is already part of Russia.
Last month, the leaders of the two self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, also said that they would soon hold a referendum on the possibility of annexing Russia. However, Russian officials say that now is not the right time to talk about mergers. Russia recognized Donetsk and Lugansk as two independent states in February, before launching a special military operation in Ukraine.
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