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Primakov in Ashgabat, Tajik Talks Continue

Ashgabat, July 9 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has arrived in Ashgabat, and reports say he is expected to participate in the current round of talks on the Tajikistan conflict.

Primakov had talks yesterday with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov on bi-lateral and regional cooperation. Primakov today is scheduled to meet Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Boris Shekmuradov.

Russia has attempted to mediate the United Nations-sponsored talks between Tajikistan's government and militant opposition. As a new round of talks opened in Ashgabat yesterday, each side called for "constructive dialogue."

The head of Tajikistan's government delegation, Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov, said all efforts should be made to hammer out a peace agreement. The head of the Tajik opposition delegation Akbar Turajonzada repeated a key opposition demand that the opposition be allowed to join a government of national unity. Turajonzada also expressed optimism that the re-election of Russia's President Boris Yeltsin would boost peace prospects in Tajikistan.