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Tajik Authorities Negotiate With Khudjand Demonstrators

Khudjand, Tajikistan, May 13 (RFE/RL) - Our correspondent in Tajikistan reports that Tajik authorities have started negotiations today with thousands of demonstrators in the northern city of Khudjand, but the the protest is still continuing.

Our correspondent reports from Khudjand that Prime Minister Yakhyo Azimov and Interior Minister Saidamir Zukhurov today addressed some 6,000 demonstrators in the city. The protestors have been demonstrating against a recent wave of killings of prominent regional figures as well as falling living standards.

According to our correspondent, Tajik officials accepted some of the protesters' demands. Officials and demonstration organizators signed a seven-point agreement, including the opening of an official inquiry into the killings, and the withdrawal of special Interior Ministry troops from the Khudjand region.

In the document the government also agreed to take measures to improve food supplies and control on the distribution of humanitarian aid in the region.

Azimov asked protesters camped in the centre of Khudjand to disperse, but the request was refused. Protesters are insisting on the removal of officials in the region's police, general procuror's office and tax-collecting authority.