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WASHINGTON, November 15 (Itar-Tass) — The United States does not recognise legitimacy of the presidential election held in South Ossetia on Sunday, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner t old reporters on Monday.
The United States does not recognise the legitimacy or the result of this so-called presidential election and a referendum (on the Russian language status), which were held in the Georgian region of South Ossetia on November 13, he said. We reaffirm our strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
According to him, the United States again calls on Russia to fulfil all its commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including to withdraw its troops to positions before the conflict, and to provide free access for humanitarian assistance to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
According to the referendum results, 83.99 percent of the voters supported the idea of endowing the Russian language with the status of a second official language. However, the presidential voting was not that unanimous. Neither of 11 candidates managed to score an overwhelming majority of the vote, and a runoff voting was appointed for November 27. The candidate, who is believed to be supported by Moscow, finished neck and neck with the one considered to be a “protest candidate,” and will have to face her in a runoff vote, while the prot·g· of the incumbent president has lost his chance to win the presidential race. Based on the results of voting at 95 out of 96 balloting stations, South Ossetia’s Emergencies Minister Anatoly Bibilov, dubbed in the press as a Moscow candidate, who favours South Ossetia’s joining Russia, scored 25.44 percent of votes, while the opposition candidate, former minister of education Alla Dzhioyeva lost a narrow margin, having won 25.37 percent of the vote. From the very start, Bibilov has been spoken about as a “Kremlin prot·g·.” The opinion kept swelling after Vladimir Putin sent a telegram of greeting to a forum of Bibilov’s supporters. The telegram, however, was signed by Putin as a leader of the United Russia party rather than a prime minister.