On April 26, 2019, a news agency, Pirveli, released an article headlined “According to the de facto authorities, Members of the European Parliament will observe “elections” in occupied Abkhazia.” The article reads that MEPs will be invited to observe the upcoming presidential elections in July 2019. According to the same article, the Abkhaz delegation received a relevant pledge from MEPs during its visit to Brussels in March 2019.
Similar article was published by Georgian weekly newspaper Kviris Palitra in its April 29 – May 5 issue.
Editorial Board of Kviris Palitra: “MEPs in Abkhazia – Deputy Foreign Minister of occupied Abkhazia, Irakli Tuzhba said that during their visit to Brussels, Abkhaz “diplomats” invited Members of the European Parliament to observe the so called presidential elections. “Representatives of the European Parliament have promised to monitor the presidential elections,” he noted.
Pirveli news agency refers to Sputnik as its source of information, while Kviris Palitra does not refer to any source at all. On April 25, the same information was also spread by Sputnik Abkhazia.
The information spread by Pirveli news agency, Kviris Palitra and Sputnik Abkhazia as if MEPs promised the Abkhaz delegation to monitor the so called presidential elections is a lie, because according to the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the European Parliament has not made any such pledge that is part of the EU non-recognition policy towards Georgia’s occupied regions. In addition, the headline used by Pirveli news agency is manipulative, as it provides false information in an affirmative form, creating an impression that the decision on monitoring the so called presidential elections by MEPs has already been made.
1. The European Parliament has not made any pledge to monitor the Abkhaz presidential elections
The Myth Detector reached out to the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, asking it to comment on the issue. The latter noted that the European Parliament has not given any promise to observe the so called presidential elections.
“The European Parliament or any of its official bodies (including the President, Committee on Foreign Affairs or Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) have not made and do not intend to make any pledge on monitoring the above mentioned “elections,” reads the letter sent by the EU Delegation.
According to the letter, if separate MEPs decide to arrive in Abkhazia in July 2019 and/or make public comments on the ongoing developments there, it will be their personal decision, which in no way reflects the position of the European Parliament or the European Union.
2. The European Union does not recognize the elections held in the occupied region
The European Union remains committed to the non-recognition policy towards Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, meaning that it supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and does not recognize the self-proclaimed independence of the two regions, as well as their state institutions and elections.
“The European Union does not recognize the framework of the so-called elections and a referendum held by Russia-backed separatists in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2016 and 2017,” reads the European Parliament resolution on Georgian occupied territories 10 years after the Russian invasion (2018/2741).
Speaking at the European Parliament plenary session on the conflict in Georgia in December 2018, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, reiterated the EU non-recognition policy towards Georgia’s occupied regions.
3. Manipulative headline
The headline of the article released by Pirveli news agency - “According to the de facto authorities, Members of the European Parliament will observe “elections” in occupied Abkhazia” – is misleading, as it creates an impression that the decision on monitoring the so called presidential elections by MEPs has already been made. The article, however, reads that MEPs will be invited to observe the upcoming presidential elections and that the Abkhaz delegation has received a relevant pledge from MEPs.
The headline of the article released by Pirveli news agency differs from that of Sputnik Abkhazia. The latter headlined its article as follows: “Members of the European Parliament have been invited to the elections in Abkhazia as observers.” (“Депутатов Европарламента пригласили наблюдателями на выборы в Абхазии”).
Prepared by Nana Rapava