Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 150

The UN-mediated inter-Tajik negotiations in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat formally convened November 30, but have yet to begin in practice. Their start has been foiled by continuing operations of government troops, with Russian support, against resistance forces in Pamir foothill areas, in violation of the cease-fire agreement. The United Opposition delegation in Ashgabat charged yesterday that, at Russian instigation, combat operations had been carried out against two villages the preceding day in order to further delay the negotiations. The opposition has extracted the Dushanbe government’s consent to the dispatch of a joint group of observers, comprised of Tajik government and opposition, Russian, UN, and Turkmen representatives, to inspect the conflict zones and certify that the cease-fire takes hold as a preliminary condition to negotiations. Pending such certification, the opposition delegation is holding separate consultations with the UN General Secretary’s envoy and mediator Ramiro Piriz-Ballon and would only accept to discuss purely procedural matters with the government delegation.

Meanwhile a Russian border troop commander in Badakhshan region, Colonel Aleksandr Rogov, complained that Afghanistan-based Tajik fighters cross the border in the evening to carry out night-time raids inside Tajikistan and return to Afghanistan just before dawn. The fighters’ willingness and ability to cross the border back and forth at short and predictable intervals suggests that the Russian border guards are coping poorly with their mission. The UN observer mission in Tajikistan has also been ineffective in monitoring the cease-fire. The UN Security Council is due to meet December 16 to consider whether or not to extend the observer mission’s mandate. (20)

1. Reuter, Itar-Tass, December 8

2. Interfax-Eurasia, December 7

3. Interfax and Reuter, December 7

4. Reuter, December 8

5. Interfax, December 7

6. Interfax, December 7

7. Financial Information Agency, December 7

8. Reuter, December 7

9. Interfax, December 7

10. Interfax, December 6

11. BNS and Reuters, December 7

12. Interfax-Ukraine, December 7

13. AP, DPA, December 6

14. Interfax, December 6

15. Belarusian Radio, December 7

16. Flux, December 7

17. Interfax, December 7

18. Noyan-Tapan, December 7

19. Noyan-Tapan, December 1

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