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Tajikistan: Reconciliation Commission To Meet

Dushanbe, 15 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The first official meeting of Tajikistan's National Reconciliation Commission is scheduled today in Dushanbe. The talks will be chaired by the leader of the United Tajik Opposition, Said Abdullo Nuri.

Nuri returned to Tajikistan last week after five years in exile, during which he directed an often bloody battle against the government of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov. After meeting Friday with Nuri, Rakhmonov was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying "there's no such word as 'opposition' in today's Tajikistan."

The task of the commission is to prepare for parliamentary elections set for next year. Under a peace accord signed in June, the Islamic rebels are to get one-third of the posts in a new government.

The Islamists were ousted from power by Rakhmonov's forces in December 1992 following a six-month civil war. They then waged a four-year war against Rakhmonov from neighboring Afghanistan.

The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, has agreed to extend the mandate of its observer mission in Tajikistan until November 15. Its 22 members work with Russian-led peacekeepers who patrol the border with Afghanistan and China.