Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 41

A potentially decisive round of inter-Tajik negotiations opened yesterday in Moscow amid uncertainty over what was actually agreed upon by President Imomali Rahmonov and Opposition chairman Saidabdullo Nuri at last week’s Iranian-mediated meeting in Mashhad. The two leaders signed an agreement stipulating that each side would receive 13 seats on the 26-seat National Reconciliation Commission, which is to be chaired by the Opposition, presumably by Nuri himself. The commission is intended to function in Dushanbe as the highest political body during a transitional period leading up to parliamentary elections and the formation of a new government.

According to Dushanbe, the leaders further agreed in Mashhad to allot the Opposition only 30 percent of government posts at central and local levels in a future coalition government, and to exclude any "third force" from the upcoming negotiations and from the future government. Dushanbe also claims that it was agreed to place the Opposition’s political representatives and their families in the national capital in one building under the protection of an 80-strong security unit, staffed by government and opposition personnel in equal numbers, but placed under the command of Dushanbe’s State Security Ministry.

The Opposition has not confirmed Dushanbe’s claims on those points. The Opposition has been demanding parity representation in the transitional government, authorization for a large detachment of its own to provide security for Opposition representatives in Dushanbe, and inclusion of the "third-force" National Revival Bloc in the negotiations and the ultimate political arrangements. (Russian & Western agencies, February 22-26)

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