Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 79

The international Contact Group, which oversees conflict settlement in Tajikistan, handed over to the Tajik government and the United Tajik Opposition yesterday a timetable for accelerated implementation of the peace agreements. The timetable requires the UTO by May 31 to move all of its armed detachments to government-prepared cantonments, where the UTO detachments are to be partly demobilized and partly merged with government forces.

The same timetable requires the government to accomplish the following steps by May 31: give the UTO its quota of 30 percent of government and administrative posts at all levels, complete the program of amnesty for political detainees, form a Central Electoral Commission on which the UTO would hold 25 percent of the seats, and draft constitutional amendments for early submission to a referendum. The amendments would pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Also yesterday, the government side of the National Reconciliation Commission–a joint government-opposition body–turned down the appeal of former Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullajonov’s National Revival Bloc to be included in the power-sharing arrangements. Abdullajonov had pointed out in his appeal that “a real peace is impossible in Tajikistan as long as the NRB and its Popular Unity Party are not included in the negotiating process.”

The NRB and PUP represent the interests of Leninabad region in the north, which is the country’s largest region and the traditional source of Tajik governing personnel. The Dushanbe authorities sentenced a Leninabad group headed by Abdullajonov’s brother to death for “terrorism;” and have just launched a second “terrorism” case against Leninabad residents (see Monitor, April 3, 21, 22). These steps show that government, which is narrowly based in a small southern region, remains unwilling to make a deal with the Leninabad representatives. The UTO, based mainly in the east of the country, has all along favored a deal with Leninabad but lacks the power to proceed on its own.

In Dushanbe yesterday, four officers of government security agencies were killed in a shoot-out. They may have been attacked by unidentified gunmen, according to one version, or were involved in an internecine fight, according to another. Either explanation reflects the precarious security situation in Dushanbe itself, not to mention some of its outskirts. (Russian agencies, April 23) — VS