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Tajikistan: Conference Raises Millions In Aid

Vienna, 25 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - A U.N.-sponsored conference ended today in Vienna with international pledges of $56.5 million of aid to help Tajikistan recover from years of civil war.

Gerd Dietrich Merrem, the U.N. special envoy to Tajikistan, said the two-day meeting at the U.N. Vienna headquarters was an "unqualified success in several aspects", especially as an expression of international solidarity and concrete support for the peace process.

The conference however failed to produce the $65 million in pledges that the U.N. had set as a target.

The money raised by the conference will support the implementation of peace argeements in Tajikistan for up to 18 months, including refugees' return, multiparty elections and demobilization of soldiers.

Yesterday, Tajik opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri -- speaking in the Austrian capital -- said the Tajik opposition is not seeking to force its ideals and views upon anyone and is pledged to observe international law. Nuri -- the chairman of Tajikistan's Commission for National Reconciliation -- said international aid is vital to creating an atmosphere of stability in Tajikistan.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov appealed yesterday to the international community for financial help to restore peace and stability.

The U.N.-sponsored conference is appealing to some 60 donor nations and 30 international organizations for aid to help Dushanbe recover from years of civil war.