Prague, 25 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov has called on his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rakhmonov, to show more flexibility and willingness to compromise in settling the inter-Tajik conflict.
Karimov told RFE/RL Thursday that Russian officials, including President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, had given Rakhmonov the same advise at various CIS summits. Karimov said the Tajik government's bargaining position is weakened the longer Rakhmonov remains unbending.
Karimov expressed disappointment at the results of peace talks between Rakhmonov and his Islamic opponent Said Abdullo Nuri. The Uzbek president said the key to a Tajik peace settlement lies not within that country but, in his words, "beyond Tajikistan's borders." Russia, with some 32,000 troops deployed in Tajikistan, is considered the main backer of the Rakhmonov government. Teheran is considered the main base of the united Islamic opposition. The opposition formed part of a loose coalition with democratic forces that was ousted by forces loyal to Rakhmonov in 1992. A civil war that has killed tens of thousands has wracked the country since.
Meanwhile, Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov told RFE/RL Thursday that his government remains committed to the peace process, but it must be resolved within the framework of the country's constitution.