Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 125

A delegation representing the United Tajik Opposition [UTO] flew from Tehran to Moscow yesterday to take part in the signing ceremony for the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Harmony in Tajikistan. Members of official Dushanbe’s delegation are already in Moscow, and Tajik president Imomali Rahmonov was to arrive today. Rahmonov and UTO leader Saidabdullo Nuri are to sign the agreement tomorrow, with Russian president Boris Yeltsin participating in the ceremony. "If the agreement is signed, it will confirm Russia’s indispensable role as a peacemaker in the CIS," Yeltsin press spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky told a press conference yesterday. (Russian agencies, June 25)

But UTO representatives are suggesting that the document may not be signed because two questions remain unresolved: that of prisoner exchanges, including opposition supporters held since February, and the need for a precise definition of the government ministries and departments in which UTO representatives are to serve in order to fill their 30 percent quota. According to the opposition, the inter-Tajik agreement cannot be signed without resolving these questions. (Russian news agencies, June 26)

If the agreement is signed, it will clearly be a significant development. The inter-Tajik negotiations have gone on for almost five years. Until recently, representatives of official Dushanbe and the opposition had not succeeded in coming to a compromise, but an unexpected breakthrough took place during the Moscow round of the negotiations last December. At that time, the Tajik authorities agreed to form a coalition government for the transitional period before the holding of new elections for the republic’s power structures. In succeeding rounds of negotiations, virtually all of the opposition’s demands were met, including the legalization of opposition parties and the integration of armed opposition detachments into the Tajik Army.

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