The sixth round of inter-Tajik peace talks, held in Tehran, ended on January 19. Maksim Peshkov, the head of the Russian commission on settling the Tajik crisis, has told the Monitor that the two sides were able to reach agreement on several political issues, including defining the mechanism for forming a new coalition government, the size of the new National Reconciliation Commission, and the opposition’s quota on the Central Election Commission. Other issues, including a number of military questions, have been deferred to the next round, scheduled to take place in Moscow or Tehran on February 26.
The head of the Tajik opposition delegation, Akbar Turajonzoda, is reported to have been pleased with what his side managed to achieve at the talks. Those successes include a large share of the seats on the Central Election Commission, and an agreement that opposition candidates would not have to be approved by official Dushanbe, a condition on which the government had initially insisted.
But the failure to reach agreement on the most important question — government and opposition quotas on the national reconciliation commission — suggests that a real breakthrough in settling the Tajik crisis has yet to occur. Turajonzoda told the Monitor that the government’s proposal of a 20 percent quota "is absolutely unacceptable. We claim a minimum of 35 percent. And another 20 percent or so must be given to the internal opposition… To ignore that an internal opposition exists in the republic is monstrous short-sightedness which could lead to a new civil war."
But official Dushanbe continues to reject inclusion of "third force" representatives on the reconciliation commission. "There will only be two quotas on the commission. One for the government and one for the opposition. If the opposition wishes, then it can give up some of its own seats to the so-called ‘third force,’ " the head of the Tajik government delegation, Foreign Minister Tolbak Nazarov, told the Monitor.
Another bone of contention is the opposition’s demand that the Islamic Revival party, the Democratic party, and the Pamir "Lali Badakhshan" party be legalized. According to Peshkov, "both the Russian side and the Tajik government think that this should be preceded by the demilitarization of these movements." Moscow’s position, naturally, irritates the Tajik opposition. "It could take a long time to resolve the military questions. Without legalizing our movements, we can’t prepare for the elections on an even footing. The Moscow summit gave us hope that Moscow’s policy in Tajikistan had become more reasonable. But after this round, we are once again disappointed," Turajonzoda complained.
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