Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 5

Negotiations in Tehran between the Tajik government and opposition resumed on January 6 in the presence of UN and Russian envoys. The agenda covers practically all the major points of the December 23 Moscow political agreement, which papered over the differences and deferred their resolution to follow-up negotiations on the powers and composition of the National Reconciliation Commission (see Monitor, December 24)

Statements by the two sides prior to the current talks highlighted those differences. The government delegation’s leader, Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov, stated that the commission may only have a consultative role, submitting recommendations which the existing government and parliament may accept or veto. But opposition delegation leader Akbar Turajonzoda called for real powers to be conferred on the National Reconciliation Commission, a balanced composition of that commission, the release of political prisoners held by the government, the creation of security guarantees for the return of refugees from Afghanistan, and the inclusion of the "third-force" National Revival Bloc in the negotiations.

The outcome of these talks will ultimately hinge on Dushanbe’s — and, in the background, Moscow’s — willingness to change Tajikistan’s constitutional setup, imposed in 1992-93 and guaranteeing the ruling Kulob clan’s control of the state. Thus far, Dushanbe — and its chief delegate Nazarov in the preliminaries to the current negotiations — has ruled out all but cosmetic changes to that constitutional setup.

In Dushanbe, Russian troops on January 6 began patrolling the city jointly with the Tajik army and police in an effort to prevent further deadly attacks on Russian soldiers, six of whom were killed and four wounded in Dushanbe alone since January 1. (Voice of Free Tajikistan, December 28; Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, December 30; Interfax, Itar-Tass, Xinhua, Western agencies, January 6).

Kazakhstani Leadership Invites Opposition to Dialogue.