Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 147

Tajik President Imomali Rahmonov and United Opposition leader Saidabdullo Nuri met yesterday to discuss the long-overdue appointment of opposition members to a government of national unity. Rahmonov rejected the opposition’s top nominees: Muhammadsharif Himmazoda for deputy prime minister, Mirzo Zio for defense minister, and Amirhoja Shukurov for chairman of the State Committee for Industry. Rahmonov accepted the opposition’s nominees for the lesser posts of agriculture minister and heads of the state committees for (1) oil and gas, (2) precious metals, and (3) emergency situations (the latter deals with natural calamities and accidents). (Russian agencies, July 30)

Under the 1997 pacification agreements, the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) is entitled to a quota of 30 percent of government posts at the central and local levels. The quota includes one “force” ministry–which has been identified as the Defense Ministry–out of the three “force ministries.” The incumbent authorities have stonewalled the implementation of the power-sharing and of other parts of the agreements. Earlier this year, Rahmonov approved the nomination of UTO’s First Deputy Chairman Akbar Turajonzoda as first deputy prime minister, but Rahmonov’s own parliament invalidated the appointment of Turajonzoda and several other UTO leaders. Mirzo Zio, one of the most effective field commanders in the war, currently serves as chief of staff of UTO forces from his base in Tavildara. He oversees the planned merger of opposition forces in that area to the satisfaction of international observers.–VS

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