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Tajikistan: Government And Opposition Open Peace Talks

Moscow, 26 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The latest round of Tajik peace talks in Moscow opened today with speeches by United Nations special representative Gerd Merrem; the head of the Tajik government delegation, Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov; and the head of the Tajik opposition delegation, Akbar Turajonzoda.

Our correspondents say all the speakers confirmed that the current round of talks will focus on defining mechanisms for the integration of government and opposition troops.

Davlat Usmon, chief of staff of the opposition, told our correspondents that the rebels are ready to cooperate with the government forces in order to crack down on what he calls uncontrolled armed groups like that of the Sadirov brothers, which recently took hostage a group of UN employees and Russian journalists.

Tajik deputy interior ministry Bahodoor Abdullaev told RFE/RL that government and opposition forces have already started coordinated action against the Sadirovs' armed group.