President Imomali Rahmonov and Saidabdullo Nuri, leader of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) and head of the National Reconciliation Committee, met in Dushanbe on November 17 to further detail the power-sharing agreement that is designed to end the conflict in Tajikistan. According to early reports, the two reiterated a pledge to give 30 percent of government positions to UTO members and specifically noted that one of the "power ministries," such as Defense, Interior, or Security, will go to an opposition member. (Reuter, November 17) The composition of the government and, more importantly, the allocation of influential posts have been major stumbling blocks to the implementation of the agreement signed this past June. The participants in the November 17 talks hope to minimize tensions by gradually spelling out who gets what.
In another development, Russian border units have received orders to fire upon any groups of "armed Tajik opposition" that cross the Tajik-Afghan border in an attempt to return home "illegally." Russian units patrolling in the Qala-I Khum region, opposite the Darwaz district of Afghanistan, report that up to four different units of Tajik opposition forces (comprised of 10-15 soldiers each) have approached the border and may be considering crossing. (BBC, November 18) A spokesman for the Tajik opposition noted that there are approximately 260 armed opposition members in Afghanistan who are waiting to return home. The pressure for them to return only increases with the onset of winter, he continued, as they lack sufficient food and medicine in their current position. While the transport of civilian refugees from Afghanistan to Tajikistan via Uzbekistan continues with the support of the government, the two sides remain apart on the repatriation of armed opposition figures.
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