At the inter-Tajik talks in Ashgabat, government and opposition delegations signed on July 19 a statement instituting a ceasefire inside Tajikistan and on the Afghan-Tajik border for the period July 20 through December 31, 1996. Each side will keep its forces on the positions held as of July 19, and will work toward a separation-of-forces agreement in Tavildara under the supervision of the U.N. military observer mission. The observers are to arrive on both sides of the confrontation line within three days of the cease-fire’s entry into force. The Tajik government-opposition joint observer commission is to resume its activities under mutual guarantees of security and access. Relief supplies and civilians are to move freely on the Dushanbe-Badakhshan highway, portions of which are controlled by the opposition.
Mediated by UN envoy Gerd-Dietrich Merrem, the agreement completes the third stage of the fifth round of inter-Tajik talks. There is no agreement yet on a venue for the proposed exchange of prisoners. The sides and the observer countries are now discussing possible dates and venues for follow-up talks; Russia and the Tajik government seek to move the talks to Moscow. (Interfax, Western agencies, July 19 and 20) The record of inter-Tajik talks is replete with ceasefire agreements which have been violated by government forces seeking to recapture lost ground and by the opposition seeking to retain and expand zones under its control. As noted above in the For the Record section, this pattern continues.
Russian Border Troops to get Massive Reinforcements.