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Tajik Government, Opposition to Exchange War Prisoners by August 20

Ashgabat, July 22 (RFE/RL) -- Itar-Tass reports today that the Tajik government and the opposition have agreed to exchange their prisoners of war by August 20.

The agency quotes a protocol signed yesterday in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat by representatives of the two sides as saying the exchange will take place in the Tajik city of Khorog, near the border with Afghanistan.

The protocol says the two sides are to submit their lists with the same number of prisoners to the International Red Cross.

Negotiators also agreed that 26 prisoners already released by the Tajik opposition will be delivered to their place of residence by July 26 with Red Cross assistance.

A ceasefire between Tajik government troops and a loose coalition of Islamic and pro-democracy fighters went into effect two days ago, but the two sides have already accused each other of violations.