Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 146

The long-awaited fifth round of inter-Tajik negotiations opened November 30 in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat, only to be immediately suspended on the opposition’s demand. In its statement at the opening ceremony, the opposition delegation demanded a stop to offensive operations by government forces and Russian air raids in Garm and Badakhshan, and the sending of a UN fact-finding team there, before the negotiations proceed. Opposition chief delegate Akbar Turajonzoda pointed out that those operations violated the cease-fire agreement and called for the deployment of a joint contingent of Tajik government, Tajik opposition, Turkmen, and UN observers in the Tavildara conflict zone. He said that the opposition delegation was not breaking off the talks but was staying on in Ashgabat awaiting a positive response to its demands. United Tajik Opposition chairman Saidabdullo Nuri wrote to the Ashgabat forum that Russian warplanes intensively bombed three villages in the Tavildara district on the very day of the negotiations’ opening. UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali’s special representative Ramiro Piriz-Ballon is now holding separate consultations with the parties in Ashgabat as a temporary substitute for negotiations. (17)

The cease-fire agreement had banned deployment of additional forces in the contested area, but the government and its Russian ally have brought in forces from Tajikistan’s interior which the resistance guerrillas could not match. Russian air bombings of villages suspected of harboring the opposition constitute a recent escalation of the fighting. The fifth negotiating round, overdue since August, was supposed to be conducted non-stop until some document could be signed.

1. Reuter, UPI, Interfax, Itar-Tass, December 4

2. Reuter, UPI, December 4

3. Ostankino and Russian TVs and Interfax, December 1

4. Reuter, December 3

5. Ostankino and Russian TVs, Interfax, and Itar-Tass, December 1 through 3

6. Reuter, December 1

7. Interfax, November 30

8. Reuters, December 1

9. Interfax, December 1

10. BNS, November 30

11. BNS, November 8

12. Interfax-Ukraine, December 1

13. UPI, December 1

14. Belarusian Radio, November 23

15. Itar-Tass, November 27

16. UPI, December 1

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