Negotiations between the Tajik government and the opposition, which opened in Tehran on January 6, have been driven into deadlock by Dushanbe’s interpretation of the December 23 Moscow agreement as precluding power-sharing with the opposition. Emerging yesterday from week-long, closed-doors talks, UN mediator Gerd-Dietrich Merrem spoke of "serious difficulties" and a "tense atmosphere." Merrem sided with Dushanbe and Moscow in turning down the opposition’s proposals to invite UN peacekeeping troops to Tajikistan in addition to the Russian troops, to involve countries other than Russia in guaranteeing implementation of the Moscow agreement, and to allow the opposition to station a unit in Dushanbe for the security of its side of the proposed National Reconciliation Commission. (Itar-Tass, January 13)
The government and the opposition strongly differ on the composition, powers, and size of that commission, which is envisaged by the Moscow agreement. The government wants a small commission with a governmental majority and symbolic functions whose exercise would be subject to the government’s veto, and it insists on preserving existing constitutional arrangements.
The opposition seeks a large commission endowed with real powers and functional departments; a balanced composition of the commission, involving 40 percent shares for government and opposition, respectively, and a 20 percent share for the "third-force" National Revival Bloc; and a commitment to constitutional change in order to permit equitable representation of the country’s regions and ethnic groups in the political system.
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