Abkhazian authorities, opposition agree to hold talks

Abkhazian authorities, opposition agree to hold talks

The authorities and opposition in Abkhazia have agreed to start talks after consultations held with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, ITAR-TASS reported.

The Abkhazian authorities will be represented by Security Council secretary Nugzar Ashuba, and the opposition by chairman of the public veteran movement, member of the Coordinating Council of 11 political parties and public organizations Vitaly Gabniya.

"Nothing is proposed, no recipes exist for us," Gabniya told journalists, adding that opposition leaders got familiarized with proposals on the part of President Alexander Ankvab, and everyone reached the conclusion that a negotiating process should start.

Gabniya claimed Ankvab left his workplace and is at a Russian military base in the Abkhazian town of Gudauta.

In turn, Abkhazian Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaya did not rule out that the format of the government will be changed as a concession to the opposition, as, in his opinion, the key thing is welfare of Abkhazia.

Lakerbaya explained the absence of any statements from Ankvab by Ankvab's "certain health problems". Lakerbaya also said the president will soon present his view of the situation.

The Coordinating Council of opposition parties was again gathering people in the capital Sukhum today, on the square in front of the presidential administration building. The Council pledged to "propose a number of responsible decisions that will make it possible to ease tensions in society."

On Tuesday, the opposition gathered thousands of people in central Sukhum demanding the resignation of the government, the prosecutor general and heads of the republic's eastern districts.

After unsuccessful talks with the president, opposition leader Raul Khadzhimba announced that the Coordinating Council of the opposition parties and organizations would act as a caretaker government.

The Abkhazian president accused the opposition of an attempt to overthrow the government. He noted that there was still a chance to steer the situation into the legal framework.

On Wednesday, a multi-thousand rally of Ankvab's supporters was held at the same place. They called on the opposition to vacate seized government buildings and state television and start talks with the authorities on ways out of the crisis. They warned the opposition leaders of personal responsibility for developments.

The opposition demands the president's resignation and formation of a coalition "government of trust and people's accord".

The authorities want to prevent violence and consider the situation from the constitutional point of view with understanding that the post of the republic's president is elective for a certain term.

Russia and Georgia cut off diplomatic ties after Russia recognized as independent two Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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