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Tajik: Merrem: UN Monitors Held in Dushanbe

Dushanbe, August 2 (RFE/RL) -- The United Nations special envoy on the Tajikistan conflict, German diplomat Gerd Merrem, says Tajik authorities today briefly held two U.N. monitors, who were trying to leave Dushanbe for the eastern Tavil Dara region.

Merrem told RFE/RL by telephone that Tajik Interior Ministry officials stopped the two U.N. monitors, because they lacked proper documents to be in Tajikistan. He said the monitors were later reported released. The monitors are representatives of the Tajik opposition.

Merrem said the monitors had planned to assess implementation of a ceasefire between Tajikistan government troops and opposition fighters. The ceasefire agreement was reached three weeks ago at talks in Ashgabat.

Three other groups of U.N. monitors were also recently unable to reach the area, where Tajik government troops and opposition guerrillas have been fighting for months. Yesterday, Merrem said fighting continues in the region, and that some local government commanders say they know nothing of a cease-fire agreement, and have no instructions from Dushanbe to allow the monitors into the area.