Leader of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia resigns

Legislators in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia have accepted the resignation of the regional leader who stepped down under pressure from the opposition

MOSCOW -- Legislators in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia on Monday accepted the resignation of the region's leader, who stepped down under pressure from the opposition.

Khadzhimba initially denounced the move as a coup attempt, but submitted his resignation Sunday “for the sake of peace and stability.” He acted after Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide, Vladislav Surkov, arrived in the capital, Sukhumi, to help mediate the conflict.

Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed. Moscow has tightened its control over the lush Black Sea province and a second breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia, after a brief war with Georgia in 2008.

Russia recognizes both regions as independent nations and deploys its military there despite international condemnation.