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U.S. Department of State
96/12/19 Statement: Tajikistan: UN Troops Harassed
Office of the Spokesman

Press Statement by Nicholas Burns/Spokesman
December 19, 1996

                    Tajikistan: UN Troops Harassed

The United States condemns the December 15 incident in which Government 
of Tajikistan troops roughed up and staged a mock execution of UN 
Military observers.  This incident is particularly serious as it follows 
a very similar event on December 3.  We note that the government has 
apologized for both events but call on it to take effective action to 
prevent any reoccurrence of such behavior.  We also condemn the 
oppositionās continuing attacks on government troops in violation of the 
most recent cease-fire agreed to at a December 10-11 meeting in northern 
Afghanistan.  Both government and opposition leaders must ensure that 
their forces keep promises made by their negotiators.

A summit between Tajik President Rahmonov and United Tajik Opposition 
leader Nuri was scheduled to begin in Moscow today, as agreed at their 
recent informal pre-summit meeting in Afghanistan.  Although both 
leaders have already traveled to Moscow for the meeting, we understand 
its opening has been delayed due to the oppositionās late arrival.

We call on both sides to use this opportunity to move forward with the 
process of national reconciliation.  The sides should build on the work 
that has been achieved at previous negotiating rounds with the able help 
of the United Nations Secretary-Generalās Special Representative 
Ambassador Merrem.  This is a genuine opportunity to end the years of 
bloodshed and put Tajikistan on the path of peace.
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