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Tajikistan/Uzbekistan: Officials Pledge Border Cooperation

Dushanbe, 30 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Tajik and Uzbek officials met today in Uzbekistan's eastern town of Termeza to discuss recent fighting near their common border.

Our correspondent in Dushanbe says the two sides signed a 5-point protocol pledging closer cooperation in the fight against rebel forces. Tajik government troops this month have been attacked repeatedly by rebel fighters under the leadership of Col. Makhmud Khudoiberdeyev.

Major-General Gafur Mirzoyev, commander of Tajikistan's Presidential Guard, has previously said captured fighters claim that part of their group was hiding in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan's foreign ministry categorically denies the reports and today's talks were called to clarify the situation.

Our correspondent says the protocol signed today envisages also regular meetings between Tajik and Uzbek border guards' chiefs as well as between representatives of law enforcement bodies. The two sides also agreed on joint efforts in the fight against drug trafficking.