Tajik government-opposition negotiations in Tehran were officially closed yesterday. These end-game talks had opened on April 9 and were to have dealt with the legalization of political parties in Tajikistan. But the opposition suspended the talks on that first day upon learning that Russian authorities had, at the Dushanbe government’s request, arrested and/or issued arrest warrants for 11 Tajik civilian opposition activists on charges of "terrorism." Those arrested included an opposition political adviser who is related to United Tajik Opposition first vice-chairman and chief negotiator Akbar Turajonzoda, and who had not been to Tajikistan for several years. He is nevertheless accused of involvement in the assassination of some 40 Russian soldiers there.
This latest move by Moscow and Dushanbe follows the execution of two opposition activists jailed in Dushanbe who were due to be included in a prisoner exchange; and the arrest and torture of an allegedly "terrorist" opposition group, one of whose members was killed in detention. The opposition charged in each case that the authorities were violating the recent understanding on a general amnesty accompanying the ceasefire. Nevertheless, the opposition had reluctantly agreed to continue the negotiations despite those two incidents. This time, however, the Russian, Iranian, and UN mediators failed in their joint efforts to pressure the opposition delegation to continue the talks. The Russian and Dushanbe delegates, in fact, reserved the right to continue such "antiterrorist" measures. (Interfax, April 10-15; IRNA, April 14)
Official Moscow Disavows Misinformation on Turkmenistan.