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Tajikistan: President And Nuri Meet

Dushanbe, 12 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov welcomed the leader of the United Tajik Opposition back to the country's capital today, saying that in today's Tajikistan "there's no such word as opposition."

Rakhmonov's words came after a private one-and-a-half hour meeting with Said Abdullo Nuri in Dushanbe. Nuri returned to Tajikistan yesterday after five years in exile during which he directed an often bloody battle against Rakhmonov's government.

Rakhmonov said he appreciated the work done by the United Nations (U.N.), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the guarantor countries of the Tajik process. The Tajik president said he hoped they would continue to work in Tajikistan but said their numbers could now be reduced.

Nuri said peaceful times are beginning for Tajikistan, but he stressed that the U.N. and OSCE will be needed until at least after Tajikistan conducts parliamentary elections in 1998. Neither man mentioned the thousands of Russian troops currently stationed in Tajikistan.

Tonight, Nuri will meet with UN special envoy to Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem. Rakhmonov will meet members of the National Reconciliation Commission, whose task it will be to prepare for the elections to parliament. Their first official meeting is set for September 15.