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Tajikistan: President Ready For Peace Talks Despite Assassination Attempt

Dushanbe, 30 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmonov has reaffirmed his readiness to meet with Tajik opposition leaders in early May as planned, despite an assassination attempt against him earlier today. The united Tajik opposition has denied resposibility and condemned the attack.

Presidential spokesman Zafar Saidov also told journalists that Rakhmonov had called on his countrymen to remain calm and urged security forces to conduct an "unbiased" investigation into the attack.

According to latest figures, two people died and some 60 others were injured in the attack earlier today in Khudjand, in the Leninabad region. Saidov said Rakhmonov's leg had been pierced by shrapnel, for which he received medical treatment.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin issued a statement, voicing his "anger and indignation" at the attack. Russia has some 25,000 troops stationed along the Tajik-Afghan border. Tajikistan has been beset by civil war and social unrest since shortly after the Central Asian nation gained independence from the Soviet Union.