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Ankvab: The support of the people gives me strength and confidence in the rightness of our actions

SUKHUM -- "Abkhazia should not on any account become a country where political relations and plans to restore order can be cut short by criminal and extremist circles and political forces closely aligned with them," President Aleksandr Ankvab affirmed in an interview with the news agency "Apsnypress."

The president shares the view of many citizens of the Republic, who considering that yesterday's attempt on his life was not only an attempt on the life of one man, even the head of state. "I share the view of the citizens of Abkhazia who say this was an attack on our statehood and sovereignty, that it was an attempt to destabilize the situation from within," he said. At the same time, Ankvab added that he would reason the same way if it had happened not to him personally, but to any other head of state.

"It is inadmissible to try to resolve any relations, including political and economic ones, by means of weapons, through assassinations and terrorist attacks," said the head of state.

"Abkhazia is a young state. Like other states, especially those on the path of development, it is faced with serious problems, including not only the problem of combating manifestations of corruption, criminalization, and extremism, but also groups dedicated to extreme measures in politics," Ankvab said. "It is the last extreme that is the most dangerous for us, because it is based not only on the financial interests of certain groups, but also on a destructive ideology. I would like to stress that it is difficult to conceive of a more dangerous path for the Abkhaz state today, and a shorter one to its destruction."

"Plans to fight against criminality are not a whim on my part, it is an imperative of the time [we live in], and the majority of the population demands this. And we will fight with those who try to destabilize the situation, with those who would like Abkhazia to abandon the path of development and of strengthening a democratic, civilized country based on the rule of law," he stressed.

Asked who might have opened fire on the president, Aleksandr Ankvab said: "If we speculate on who specifically fired the shots, then such people can be found in Abkhazia, or they could have been invited from outside the country, given that ties between criminal groups are durable, such ties date back a long time."

"This kind of crimes and terrorist acts are well paid. And ordinary people, peasants, workers, representatives of medium-sized businesses, do not have such sums at their disposal. Only wealthy individuals or gangs, mafia criminal organizations, have that sort of money," the president said.

He emphasized in particular the serious danger such processes pose to the state, and affirmed his readiness to take the necessary and stringent measures in order to prevent a further deterioration of the situation.

"I hope that these processes are not deep, and it is still possible to fight them," said Aleksandr Ankvab.

In Ankvab's words, "someone wants the situation to develop in Abkhazia in a way that is not in the interests of the people." "There are forces who want a president who is dependent and can be manipulated, a weak-willed and dependent leadership. In that case, the state and society would be ruled not by laws, but by 'concepts.' These forces call into question the path chosen by our country, they question the possibility of developing along the path that was marked out even before the [1992-1993] Patriotic War of the Abkhaz people and was confirmed by the results of the war itself and by 2008," the president said, adding that they will not succeed in implementing their criminal plans.

"The support of the people gives me strength and confidence in the rightness of our actions," the President said. "I would not like people to be overcome with fear and foreboding because of what happened yesterday (Wednesday, 22 February - AP)."

Ankvab said that as leader of the country, he has not been broken internally.

"I'm just concerned about the irreparable loss that I suffered - the loss of my security officer, a young man, and about his family. I'm concerned about the health of the other two bodyguards who are now in the hospital, one of them in a serious condition." At the same time, Ankvab stressed that "there will be no confusion and chaos in Abkhazia." The President expressed his gratitude to all those who expressed their support in these difficult days. "It gives me added confidence," he said.

"I want the people who commissioned this murder attempt and those who carried out their orders to know that Abkhazia is not a country, and the people of Abkhazia are not a people who can be broken in this way. And neither can the current president," Ankvab concluded.

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