- Putin’s aide Surkov: ‘Political tension is not receding yet’;
- After Surkov’s mediation, opposition and govt agree to start direct talks;
Parliament of breakaway Abkhazia passed a resolution late on May 29 calling on embattled Abkhaz leader, Alexander Ankvab, to step down “voluntarily”.
With the same resolution the breakaway region’s legislative body expressed “no-confidence” against PM Leonid Lakerbaia.
Ankvab responded that he will not dismiss Lakerbaia.
“As far as a proposal about my resignation is concerned, I will not respond on that before I hold consultations with another, substantial part of lawmakers, who were not present at parliament session, as well as with voters, public and political organizations, which have been supporting legitimate authorities throughout these days and which are calling on the opposition to return in legal framework,” Ankvab told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
21 lawmakers were present at the session of 35-seat parliament; 20 of them voted in favor of the resolution, according to Abkhaz news agency Apnsipress.
According to breakaway region’s constitution, when the parliament passes a no-confidence vote against a cabinet member, it is then up to the president to take the final decision.
PM Lakerbaia has earlier expressed readiness to step down if it helps to resolve the current political standoff in which the opposition is calling for Ankvab’s resignation.
The breakaway region’s parliament can only impeach the president with two-third majority vote if the latter violates oath of office; but before such a vote, according to the Abkhaz constitution, there should be a conclusion from the supreme court confirming that the violation really took place.
Ankvab had to leave the presidential headquarters after the opposition took over the premises late on May 27; the building remains under the opposition’s control.
After mediation between the authorities and the opposition, Russian President’s aide, Vladislav Surkov, who arrived in Sokhumi on May 28, said on Thursday that the parties agreed to launch direct talks between each other.
“Political tension is not receding yet,” Russian and Abkhaz news agencies reported quoting Surkov as saying on May 29.
“Russia considers recent events entirely internal affair of sovereign Abkhazia. The President and the opposition stated that the way out of the crisis should be found within the legal framework, democratic procedures and traditions of the Abkhaz people. Russia is interested in peaceful and prompt resolution of the problem and restoration of order in our brotherly Abkhazia,” Surkov said.
“Both the President and the opposition stressed on their unconditional commitment to the course of further strengthening of allied relationship with Russia,” Surkov said.
Surkov, who is in charge of overseeing Moscow’s relations with breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, is accompanied in Sokhumi by deputy secretary of Russia’s security council Rashid Nurgaliyev.
Vitaly Gabnia, chairman of union of the Abkhaz war veterans, Aruaa, has been selected as a negotiator on behalf of the Coordinating Council, a group united opposition political parties and public movements. Abkhaz leader Alexander Ankvab will be represented by secretary of security council Nugzar Ashuba.
Both are “respected” persons in Abkhazia, Surkov said of Gabnia and Ashuba and expressed hope that the parties will be able to negotiate an agreement.
Opposition’s negotiator Vitaly Gabnia said on May 29 that “process is not easy.”
“There is no progress yet,” he added.
Meanwhile, Coordinating Council announced on May 29 about setting up of a “temporary council of national confidence; the 21-member council of opposition representatives will be tasked to perform executive functions of the government, according to Apsnipress.