PLANNED CONVENING OF INTER-TAJIK TALKS IN ASHGABAD, TURKMENISTAN, WELCOMED BY SECURITY COUNCIL
PLANNED CONVENING OF INTER-TAJIK TALKS IN ASHGABAD, TURKMENISTAN, WELCOMED BY SECURITY COUNCIL19951106
The Security Council this afternoon welcomed the planned convening of the continual round of inter-Tajik talks in Ashgabad, Turkmenistan, and commended the efforts of the President of Turkmenistan for his efforts in facilitating that development.
In a statement read out on its behalf by Council President Salim bin Mohammed Al-Khussaiby (Oman), the Council called upon the Tajik parties to begin that round of talks as a matter of urgency, with the aim of concluding a general agreement in Tajikistan.
Urging the Tajik parties to comply strictly with the obligations assumed under the 17 September temporary cease-fire agreement covering the Tajik- Afghan border and within the country, the Council expressed the hope that the convening of the talks would contribute to a lessening of tensions there. It further expressed the hope that the Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Tajikistan, Ramiro Piriz-Ballon, would be able promptly to resume his efforts with regard to the preparation of the forthcoming talks.
The Council welcomed the agreement by the relevant Afghan authorities to the establishment of a United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) liaison post in Taloqan in northern Afghanistan. Noting the Secretary-General's observations regarding the strengthening of UNMOT, contained in his report of 16 September (document S/1995/799), the Council expressed its support for a corresponding increase in the Mission's strength.
At the start of this afternoon's meeting, the Council President expressed the Council's shock and sorrow at the assassination on Saturday, 4 November, of the Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzak Rabin. "Prime Minister Rabin has paid the ultimate price for peace", he said, "and will be greatly
missed by his people and the international community." The Council President requested the Permanent Representative of Israel to convey the Council's profound condolences to the Government and people of Israel and to the bereaved family. Members of the Council then rose and observed a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of the late Prime Minister.
The meeting, which began at 1:14 p.m., was adjourned at 1:22 p.m.
The full text of the President's statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1995/54, reads as follows:
"The Security Council welcomes the planned convening of the continual round of inter-Tajik talks in Ashgabad. It commends the efforts of the President of Turkmenistan in this regard.
"The Security Council calls upon the Tajik parties to begin as a matter of urgency this round of talks with the aim of concluding a general agreement in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol on the fundamental principles for establishing peace and national accord in Tajikistan signed by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and the leader of the Tajik opposition on 17 August 1995 (S/1995/720, annex).
"The Security Council expresses the hope that the Secretary-General's Special Envoy will be able to resume promptly his efforts with regard to the preparation of the forthcoming round of talks. The Council reaffirms its full support for the activities of the Special Envoy.
"The Security Council urges the Tajik parties to comply strictly with the obligations assumed under the Agreement on a Temporary Cease-Fire and the Cessation of Other Hostile Acts on the Tajik-Afghan Border and within the Country signed in Teheran on 17 September 1995 (S/1994/1102, annex I). The Council expresses the hope that the convening of the talks will contribute to a lessening of tensions along the Tajik-Afghan border and inside Tajikistan.
"The Security Council notes that the relevant Afghan authorities have given their agreement to the establishment of a liaison post of UNMOT in Taloqan (northern Afghanistan). The Council welcomes this development and agrees with the proposal to establish such a post as suggested in paragraph 20 of the Secretary-General's report of 16 September 1995 (S/1995/799) with the privileges and immunities necessary for the security of the United Nations personnel concerned and for their ability to carry out the mandate.
"The Security Council also notes the Secretary-General's observations regarding the strengthening of UNMOT in paragraph 21 of his report. The Council supports a corresponding increase in the mission's strength."
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Report of Secretary-General
Today's action by the Council followed its consideration of the periodic report of the Secretary-General on progress towards national reconciliation and the operations of UNMOT in Tajikistan (document S/1995/799).
The report states that lack of progress in addressing fundamental problems during the fourth round of inter-Tajik talks from 22 May to 1 June, as well as continued tension along the Tajik-Afghan border and inside the country, had created a stalemate in the negotiating process and in implementation of confidence-building measures agreed upon at the talks.
During the official visit to Tehran of Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmonov, the report continues, the Government of Iran arranged a meeting on 19 July between him and the leader of the Tajik opposition, Abdullo Nuri, at which both sides confirmed their readiness to take concrete steps towards implementation of the agreements and for the continuation of peaceful negotiations.
Indirect talks had subsequently taken place between President Rakhmonov and Mr. Nuri, conducted through the good offices of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Tajikistan, Ramiro Piriz-Ballon. They had culminated in signature of a protocol on the fundamental principles for establishing peace and national accord in Tajikistan. In that protocol, the Government undertook to refrain from acts counter to the provisions of the protocols being concluded, while the Tajik opposition undertook to wage a political struggle by exclusively peaceful means. During the negotiations, the two sides also agreed to extend the temporary cease-fire agreement of 17 September, known as the "Tehran Agreement".
The issue of the venue for the fifth round of inter-Tajik negotiations remained unresolved, however, threatening interruption of the peace process. The Secretary-General's Special Envoy was now engaged in negotiations with the Tajik parties to find a way out of the deadlock on the issue.
On the maintenance of the cease-fire and the activities of UNMOT, the report says that the situation in Tajikistan continued to be relatively calm. Complaints from the Government side of violations of the cease-fire agreement dealt mainly with cross-border infiltration of opposition fighters and their movement within Tajikistan. Opposition complaints had mainly been about detention of persons without charge and their treatment in detention.
The report adds that the situation in the autonomous province of Gorny Badakhshan, where authorities and opposition forces existed side by side, remained complicated, particularly in the Vanj area where the Islamic Revival Movement enjoyed strong support. The UNMOT had received credible reports of recent redeployment -- prohibited under the cease-fire agreement -- of
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opposition commanders and their fighters in the region. Although UNMOT had been unable to determine the numbers involved, they were judged to be relatively limited.
The task of guarding the border in Gorny Badakhshan fell mainly to the Russian border forces, augmented in certain areas by Tajik border forces, says the report. The Tajik border forces had also seen minor redeployments -- similarly prohibited by the cease-fire agreement -- in June and July. However, despite the proximity of the opposing forces to each other, there had been no major clashes in Gorny Badakhshan. UNMOT teams in the area helped maintain contact between the sides and strove to minimize friction.
The Russian border forces had from time to time fired shells or rockets across the Pyanj river into Afghanistan for the stated purpose of deterring opposition fighters or smugglers from crossing. On two occasions, Russian border forces had been attacked by rocket fire from Afghan territory and had sustained casualties. The Joint Commission on Tajikistan had investigated a series of killings and clashes between local armed groups and government security, and UNMOT had intervened directly with the government authorities, with local leaders and with the opposition leadership in northern Afghanistan to stabilize the situation.
The report goes on to say that from mid-June to mid-August, UNMOT -- through the Joint Commission and with the participation of the International Committee of the Red Cross -- had vigorously pursued the prisoner exchange agreed on last May. However, the Joint Commission remained deadlocked on the lists of prisoners to be exchanged from each side, and despite the Commission's efforts the question was still unresolved.
In a breakdown of UNMOT personnel as of 31 August, the Secretary-General states that in the course of his Special Envoy's meetings with President Burhamuddin Rabbani and Prime Minister Najibullah Lafraie of Afghanistan, the Afghan leaders had agreed that UNMOT could open a small liaison post at Taloqan in northern Afghanistan, with the exclusive task of dealing with the Tajik problem. The report further proposes that the Security Council authorize establishment of the post, following discussions with the Afghan authorities on such questions as the status of UNMOT personnel. As a result of the establishment of the Taloqan post and an additional post at Vanj, as well as an increase in the volume of UNMOT's work, the Secretary-General intends to seek the necessary budgetary authority for an increase of five military observers and three civil affairs officers in UNMOT staff.
The report says that the signing of the protocol and the extension of the cease-fire agreement for another six months were clear proof that the Tajik sides wanted to resolve their problems peacefully. However, it was of paramount importance not to lose momentum in the negotiating process and to resume the inter-Tajik talks as soon as possible. The report expresses concern at delays in implementation of confidence-building measures agreed
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upon in the fourth round of inter-Tajik talks. In view of continued differences between the two sides on the issue of venue, says the report, the Secretary-General has suggested holding them at United Nations premises at Vienna. He notes the positive reply of the Tajik opposition to that proposal and hopes that the Government will also accept it.
In conclusion, the report states that inter-Tajik negotiations have entered their most complicated and decisive phase and no time should be lost. Any pretexts that could lead to delays might have grave consequences. In that context the Secretary-General emphasizes that the primary responsibility for resolving their differences rested with the Tajik parties themselves.
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