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Tajik Foreign Minister Criticizes Opposition

Dushanbe, March 11 (RFE/RL) -- Tajikistan's Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov today sharply criticized the Tajik opposition for the "unconstructive approach" he said it was taking to resolving the country's continuing civil war.

Addressing a session of the Tajik parliament devoted to a discussion of the conflict, Nazarov said leaders of the Tajik opposition had "n-o-t accepted any of the constructive proposals put forward by official Dushanbe, starting in 1994."

Nazarov, who has been heading the Tajik government delegation at peace talks in Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, rejected opposition demands for the dissolution of parliament and the formation of a government of national reconciliation.

Opposition leaders, who had been invited by Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov to attend today's parliamentary session, failed to show up today, citing personal safety concerns. Rakhmonov, addressing legislators, expressed his regret at the opposition's absence, saying his government had provided written guarantees assuring opposition leaders' security.

The Tajik government and the opposition have n-o-t renewed a truce, which expired last month. James Collins, the U.S. ambassador at large to former Soviet republics, yesterday warned that the U.N. might quit its mediating role in Tajikistan if the government and the pro-Islamic opposition do not renew the ceasefire.