The fifth round of the UN-mediated, Russian-assisted negotiations between the Tajik government and the armed opposition adjourned December 22 amid disagreement on virtually all political and military issues under discussion. The UN Secretary General’s special representative Ramiro Piriz-Ballon formally announced that the round would resume again in Ashkhabad January 15. The opposition delegation, however, refused to set a date for resuming talks until the Russian and the Tajik government side observes the cease-fire in Pamir areas and Russian "peacekeeping" troops adhere to their statutory neutrality.
Opposition chief delegate Akbar Turajonzoda renewed his call for a halt to Tajik army operations with Russian aviation support in Tavildara district. He pointed out that the opposition’s offer to recognize Russian-installed president Emomali Rakhmonov and to drop its demand for complete disarmament of both sides went unreciprocated by both Dushanbe and Moscow. Russian deputy foreign minister Albert Chernyshev (responsible for Asia policy) rejected the Tajik opposition’s revised proposals as "unacceptable." (15)
The much delayed fifth round of talks has been underway since November 30 in Turkmenistan’s capital of Ashkhabad. Only three plenary meetings have been held during this time due to disagreements, although the sides have held separate consultations with Piriz-Ballon. The UN mediator traveled to Moscow in mid-December to ask the Foreign Ministry for assistance in unblocking the talks. But the promises he reportedly received did not halt military operations in Tavildara, nor did they translate into pressure on Moscow’s intransigent Tajik proteges to show flexibility.
Post-Election Carnage on the Tajik-Afghan Border.