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Tajikistan: Long Awaited Tajik Peace Accord Signed Today

Moscow, 23 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmonov and opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri signed a long-anticipated peace accord in Moscow today.

The accord confirms an existing ceasefire and commits both sides to complete all negotiations on restoring peace in Tajikistan by July 1, 1997. The accord also provides for the creation of a National Reconciliation Commission, which will coordinate peace efforts.

Tajik government spokesman Zafar Saidov said the Commission will bring opposition figures into all levels of government. He said the Commission will also work to amend the constitution and draw up a new electoral law.

"The important thing now is to implement the agreement as soon as possible," Deputy opposition leader Khodzhi Akbar Turadzhonzoda said.

The Russian foreign ministry and the United Nations envoy to Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, brokered the talks. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernonmyrdin attended the signing ceremony. Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who is currently in Iran, hailed the agreement from Tehran, as did his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Velayati.