THE INTER-TAJIK DIALOGUE WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE DARTMOUTH CONFERENCE
Ashurboi Imomov, Harold H. Saunders, Gennady Chufrin
Participants in the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the framework of the
Dartmouth Conference sat down for the first time together in a Moscow conference
room in March 1993, thirteen months before the beginning of official U.N.
mediated negotiations. Although they came as individuals, they reflected
their backgrounds in different regions, political movements and nationalities
in Tajikistan. Working together through nineteen three-day meetings over
more than four years, they learned to talk, think and act together in new
ways that reflect their commitment to what they called in that first meeting
a "united, secular and democratic Tajikistan." In some ways, they became
a microcosm of how a unified Tajikistan might work together for the future
of the country.
The most important evidence of that statement lies in the memoranda
that they produced in those meetings as both destructive and constructive
developments in the country unfolded. Those memoranda, shared over these
four years with only a small circle of those directly involved in the official
peace process, are published here in the hope that they may now contribute
in the post-accord period to the fulfilment of national reconciliation
and of the aspirations for a united and developing country. The Dialogue
now publishes them to encourage other citizens of Tajikistan outside government
to come together in similar dialogues on what kind of future Tajikistanis
want for their country.
The Dartmouth Conference is the longest continuous bilateral dialogue
between citizens of the Soviet Union and now Russia and citizens of the
United States. It met first in October 1960 at Dartmouth College in the
United States and has alternated meetings in the two countries ever since.
In 1981, the plenary meeting of the Dartmouth Conference decided to create
two task forces-one in arms control and one in Soviet-U.S. interaction
in regional conflicts. The purpose of these task forces was to probe the
interactions of the two superpowers in areas where their interactions were
particularly intense and therefore created special opportunities for understanding
the dynamics of the overall Soviet-U.S. relationship. The hope was that
understanding more fully the dynamics of a hostile relationship might help
to transform it into a peaceful relationship.
In 1992, the Dartmouth Regional Conflicts Task Force, which had met
twice each year since 1982, made two decisions: First, they described the
process of sustained dialogue that participants had developed over those
ten years. The co-chairs described a five-stage process of dialogue in
a joint article titled "A Public Peace Process." Second, the task force
decided to explore the possibility of beginning a sustained dialogue under
its auspices in one of the new conflicts that had broken out in the Commonwealth
of Independent States. They chose Tajikistan.
Russian members of the Task Force went to Tajikistan and talked with
more than one hundred individuals at the second and third levels of their
organizations. They explained the experience of sustained dialogue and
ascertained readiness and willingness to participate. Selecting participants
is a crucial first phase of any sustained dialogue.
Responding to this invitation from the Dartmouth Conference, Tajikistani
participants accepted the principles of dialogue that had evolved through
more than thirty years in that international movement. Participants agreed
to come and to speak in their individual capacity, not formally representing
any organisation. They agreed to listen carefully to other participants
and to treat the views of others respectfully. They also agreed to speak
straightforwardly, from the heart, and with respect for the integrity and
sensitivities of other participants. They agreed that they would not attribute
to any participant outside of the meetings views expressed within the meetings.
They agreed that they could not speak for the group unless all members
of the group had agreed in advance. Participants in the Inter-Tajik Dialogue
agreed early, as had participants in the Dartmouth Conference, that particular
members would discreetly inform key figures in the government and other
leaders of their experience in the Dialogue without identifying views held
by particular participants. As had been the case with the Dartmouth Conference,
high government leaders accepted the existence of the Dialogue without
any involvement or responsibility for its work.
As was also the experience in the Dartmouth Conference, the Inter-Tajik
Dialogue has become what we have called "a mind at work" in the midst of
unfolding situations and relationships. Unlike a working group formed to
solve a specific problem, the Dialogue became a group that reflected on
the changing situation in their country and designed approaches that might
move the country forward constructively. The documents produced by participants
in the Dialogue which are brought together in this small volume thus present
an evolving comprehensive political approach to making peace and achieving
national reconciliation in Tajikistan in the face of changing circumstances
In the first three meetings of the Dialogue (March, May and August 1993),
participants spent their time responding to the questions of one of the
co-moderators: "What do you feel are the causes of the civil war in Tajikistan?
What do you feel are ways out of the violence?" Their responses produced
a broad mapping of the relationships and problems that underlay the violent
conflict. This work of putting out on the table all of the major perspectives,
grievances and feelings about the principal groups involved in the political
life of the country and in its internal conflict is an essential part of
the opening rounds of any sustained dialogue and becomes the foundation
for constructive forward-looking work. It is the second stage of the five
In their third meeting on a warm August afternoon in the old Kremlin
at Rostov Veliky, one of the participants brought this phase of the Dialogue
to a natural close when he said reflectively: "We must focus on how to
begin negotiations between the government and the opposition on creating
conditions for the refugees to return home. Until such negotiations produce
an agreement and end the violence, normal political life and nation-building
cannot begin in Tajikistan. We cannot rebuild economically or politically
as long as people fear for their lives and as long as one of every seven
Tajikistanis has fled her or his home."
The next stage in the Dialogue began as participants agreed to concentrate
on this problem above all others, to explore the dynamics of resistance
to negotiations and to identify the problems that would need to be dealt
with if negotiations were to begin. In the fourth session of the Dialogue,
participants met in Vladimir in October in the wake of further deterioration
in conditions in Tajikistan and in the wake of the shelling of the Russian
White House. For two days, they discussed in depth the obstacles standing
in the way of beginning negotiations.
Foremost among those obstacles was the fact that the opposition was
geographically dispersed and ideologically diffuse. Spread out from Tehran
and northern Afghanistan through the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) and including Islamists and democrats, they seemed impossible to
bring together around one table with government negotiators. Also prominent
among the obstacles was the question of how to deal with individuals "with
blood on their hands."
Within two months after that meeting of the Dialogue, members of the
main factions of the opposition met in Tehran and adopted a common platform.
Although the Dialogue cannot know what influence its discussions may have
had on that step by opposition forces, two participants in the Dialogue
were signatories of that platform and four became members of the steering
council in the Coordinating Centre in the Commonwealth of Independent States
(Moscow). When in Dialogue No. 5 (January 1994) in Moscow opposition participants
reported carefully on the opposition platform, progovernment participants
questioned them in depth with great persistence. After a day and a half
devoted to this exchange, pro-government participants said that they would
report what they had heard to the government with the personal judgement
that the basis for negotiation might well now exist.
A few weeks later, the Government of Tajikistan reported to an emissary
of the United Nations Secretary-General its readiness to participate in
U.N.-sponsored negotiations. Again, knowing the multiple influences on
any government decision, participants in the Dialogue do not claim credit
for the government's decision, but a high Tajikistani official who participated
in that decision said the Dialogue had played a significant role. "It was
no longer possible for opponents of negotiation to argue credibly that
serious dialogue between government and opposition was impossible." The
beginning of negotiations was scheduled for April.
Against that background, the Dialogue at its sixth meeting in March
1994 produced the first in a series of memoranda reflecting on the challenges
facing Tajikistan and offering approaches for meeting those challenges.
This memorandum-the first in this volume-was titled, "Memorandum on the
Negotiation Process in Tajikistan."
The approach outlined in that memorandum was unique in proposing that
the negotiating teams, in addition to their efforts to produce a written
peace agreement, make the negotiations the centre of a complex political
process for uniting the country, creating opportunities for broadly based
cooperation among factions and engaging citizens in a process for national
reconciliation and formation. To accomplish this purpose, the negotiating
teams were to "create, coordinate and oversee" four working groups. Those
groups were to propose political processes that would both implement the
decisions from the negotiations and generate experiences in working together
across lines of fragmentation and hostility. When the negotiators met in
Moscow in April, three participants in the Dialogue were delegates in the
Once negotiations had begun, participants in the Dialogue meeting in
quick succession in May in Moscow and in June in the United States, made
two significant decisions. They believed emphatically that the Dialogue
must continue alongside the official peace process. As one participant
said, "We played a significant role in enabling the negotiations to begin;
we can play a significant role in helping them to succeed." Second, recognising
that their first objective-the beginning of negotiations-had been achieved,
they formulated as their next focus designing a political process of national
In formulating that new objective, they identified as one important
question how to design a political system that would represent the interests
of different regions, political parties and movements, and nationalities
in Tajikistan. That was the subject of a four-hour dialogue that took place
before an invited audience at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington,
D.C. in June 1994. In Dialogue No. 8 that followed in Princeton, New Jersey
in the United States, the Dialogue expressed the view that holding free
democratic elections to the Supreme Soviet and a referendum on the new
constitution made it "necessary to create a situation which would ensure
the participation of all the segments of society regardless of their political,
ethnic, regional or religious affiliation." As the political process unfolded,
that approach was overtaken by a government timetable for an early referendum
on the constitution to be immediately followed by presidential and parliamentary
elections that did not favour inclusion of all political elements.
Overtaken by that timetable, Dialogue No. 9 in September 1994 focused
in detail on a long list of obstacles to national reconciliation and on
steps for overcoming them. Although the Dialogue decided then that it would
be unwise to release any memoranda during the period of elections, participants
agree now that the main direction of the discussion at this meeting should
be recounted here because of its relevance to the post-accord situation.
As participants identified a wide range of obstacles to a process of
national reconciliation, they concluded that the principal obstacle to
agreement on a process is the absence of political thinking that would
lead to confidence that power can be shared, that genuine coalitions are
possible and that losers will not be excluded and do not need to fear for
their lives. Pervading this discussion was a recognition that all sides
seemed to be fighting for exclusive power, that, in the words of one participant,
"the idea of service to the common interests of the people is not prevalent."
Participants then identified a broad range of steps that might be taken
to build the necessary confidence. As they discussed those steps, they
came to a fundamental problem: because mutual confidence did not exist,
neither side would take the first step. For instance, the sequencing of
steps toward disarmament posed a dilemma. The government took the position
that there could be no political settlement until disarmament of opposition
forces was complete; the opposition held that it could not disarm until
it was confident of sharing power fairly in a coalition government. Broadening
the discussion beyond this one example, one participant suggested: "There
are three interrelated blocks of problems. Each block should have its own
solution. Each solution should be carried out in coordination with the
solutions in the other blocks." In other words, small steps in different
areas could interact to build confidence. A scenario of interactive steps
could be agreed in advance, so that good performance on each side could
reinforce confidence. The Dialogue at this point was working in the fourth
stage of sustained dialogue-a stage of designing an interactive political
process that could gradually change relationships within the country.
Participants also recognized that building confidence is not the work
of officials alone; non-governmental groups of citizens could also play
an important role. As one participant stated, there should be some kind
of "draft agreement among public organizations to support the agreed political
process." Summarizing, one of the moderators noted that the political process
of national reconciliation the participants were discussing is not limited
to formal negotiations. The interaction between individual concrete acts
creates an overall political process in which there are several levels-the
formal negotiations, the dialogue within and among public organizations
on a public level, dialogue at the grassroots in different regions and
the support of external factors.
In the context of involving the public in the political process, participants
returned repeatedly to the idea of convening a council of elders. They
had discussed since their first or second meeting convening a "Congress
of the Peoples of Tajikistan," but once again they saw the idea of a council
of elders as a way of rooting new public organizations in traditional Tajik
Coupled with the idea of an interactive political process of national
reconciliation, participants discussed the need for "social reconciliation"
to heal the fragmentation along ethnic and regional lines. "All groups
must conclude they are part of one whole society."
Dialogue No. 11 met in March 1995 after the general elections. Though
the elections were conducted in the opinions of international organizations
with serious breaches of international standards, the Dialogue rejected
any idea of trying to overturn the results of those elections. Instead
participants declared that it is necessary to work out the concept of a
"transitional period". In that period, the objective would be to lay the
foundations for a process of national reconciliation and development of
a genuinely inclusive democratic political process. At that time they thought
of a two-year transitional period.
When the Inter-Tajik negotiations failed in May 1995 in Alma Aty to
agree on discussed programs of national reconciliation, Dialogue No. 12
completed on June 22 a "Memorandum on National Reconciliation in Tajikistan."
It urged confidence building measures that would help create "conditions
for agreement on a mechanism for national reconciliation." As may be seen
in the text of that memorandum in this book, it urged creation of two kinds
of bodies: (1) a coordinating council for national reconciliation to be
created under the authority of the Inter-Tajik Negotiations including representatives
of principal regions, political parties and movements, and national communities
to implement the decisions of the negotiations through commissions on internal
security and disarmament, refugees and temporarily displaced persons, democratic
law and practice, and national economic development; (2) one or two public
bodies-a Political Consultative Committee or a Congress of the Peoples
of Tajikistan-"to bring together citizens from all regions, political parties
and movements, and national communities to consider and solve important
questions facing the people of Tajikistan."
The "Protocol on the Main Principles of Peacemaking and National Accord
in Tajikistan," signed by Mr. Emomali Rakhmonov, president of the Republic
of Tajikistan, and Mr. Said Abdullo Nuri, leader of the Tajik Opposition,
on August 17, 1995, under United Nations mediation included their agreement
on the creation of a Consultative Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan. This
idea had been "in the air" for some time; the Dialogue put it into context
along with other options.
Meeting a month later in Pushkin, Russia, Dialogue No. 13 produced a
memo, "Regarding the Consultative Forum/Congress of the Peoples of Tajikistan."
It detailed the proposed functions, mechanisms of decision-making and mechanisms
of implementing decisions and approaches to determining the composition
of the Forum. It recognized that the responsibility for bringing the Forum
into being must lie within the jurisdiction of the Organizing Committee
which was to be set up by a joint decision of the government and the opposition.
In subsequent meetings, the Dialogue repeatedly urged early convening of
the Consultative Forum as a public space where Tajikistani citizens could
engage in the broader dialogue on the direction they wanted their country
Meeting for the first time in Tajikistan in May, 1996, the Dialogue
in its sixteenth round produced its most sober memo up to that time. Participants
expressed the belief that "the territorial integrity and even the sovereignty
of Tajikistan comes under serious threat." They repeated their long held
conviction that "the primary obstacle to peace in Tajikistan is the absence
of an adequate understanding on sharing power among the regions, political
movements, and nationalities in Tajikistan." They believed that "this is
essential in giving all citizens practical opportunities to participate
fully in the political, economic and social life of the country." They
urged the government and opposition to undertake "in some combination"
steps such as the following: establishment of a Coordinating Commission;
broadened participation in government; broadened participation in the Inter-Tajik
Negotiations; meetings between leaders; early establishment of the Consultative
Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan; and an international conference assembled
by the United Nations. "Some combination of such steps," they concluded,
"is essential to reversing the present spiral of disillusionment and to
providing a foundation for hope and a positive change in the lives of Tajikistani
In Dialogue No. 17, meeting outside Moscow in October 1996, participants
produced a memorandum which was significant in its recognition and naming
of the importance of a peace process large enough to engage the full spectrum
of the peoples in Tajikistan: "It is necessary to broaden public participation
in the efforts to achieve peace by developing a multi-level peace process
in order to assure the widest popular involvement in achieving and implementing
a nationwide peace agreement." Encouraged by initiatives taken at the local
level to negotiate a cease fire agreement in Karategin Valley (Garm Protocol)
they urged "extending the process of agreements on security and cease-fire
at the local level... establishing immediately the Consultative Forum of
the Peoples of Tajikistan as a popular mechanism for a nationwide dialogue
on the future of Tajikistan" where citizens could develop "a common vision
about what kind of country the Tajikistani people want their country to
become. A central element in that vision must be an understanding on sharing
power among the representatives of the regions, political parties, social
movements and national communities in Tajikistan...." They further urged
enlargement of the negotiating teams and, in order to work on several levels
simultaneously, adoption of the practice of including under the negotiating
teams working groups of experts and advisors to involve field commanders
and local officials as appropriate. To implement a peace agreement, they
returned to the recommendation of a Committee on National Reconciliation
under the negotiating teams. As a mechanism to stimulate civil society,
Dialogue participants encouraged the citizens of Tajikistan "to strengthen
and develop the growing network of citizens' associations and nongovernmental
Participants of the eighteenth round in February 1997, expressed deep
concern over "a new serious threat to internal stability..., i.e. a deepening
fragmentation of national political life." A memorandum from this meeting
stated that "acceleration and deepening of a multi-level peace process
is required to meet this threat."
Throughout this experience, participants in the Dialogue deepened their
own insight into the problems of their country and into the processes of
national reconciliation. Having met as virtual enemies, they gradually
evolved into a group that treated each participant with respect, developed
approaches built around the interests and needs of all the citizens of
Tajikistan, and gradually developed a political strategy for building a
country which had never before existed in its present geographical shape.
From the very beginning the main goals of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue were
-definition of the conflict and determining the causes of the conflict
and its driving forces;
-searching for ways of resolving the conflict;
-informing the world community of the actual nature of this conflict
and involving that community in the process of reconciliation in Tajikistan;
-helping conflicting parties in their search for ways of achieving national
peace and reconciliation;
-helping to develop civil initiatives to achieve peace and reconciliation
In the view of participants, contributions of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue
to the process of national reconciliation include:
-assisting the negotiating parties in a detailed consideration of specific
issues such as the Consultative Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan;
-discussing in depth the issues dealt with at the official negotiations,
such as a necessity of forming new political structures in the transitional
period, forming working groups to solve important socio-political issues
(refugees, disarmament, legal and socio-economic problems), achieving peace
in particular regions;
-developing proposals for maximum involvement of all levels of the society
in the process of national reconciliation, including non-governmental organizations,
and using traditional institutions for resolving conflicts;
-organising mini-dialogues, helping to develop courses in conflict resolution
at five major universities, such as the Kulyab State University and the
Tajik National State University, and at research institutes;
-organising special workshops on problems of conflict resolution in
Dushanbe, Moscow and Washington;
-organising a workshop on negotiation for young diplomats in Moscow.
The overarching goal of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue is to render assistance
in achieving peace and reconciliation. It has helped to develop a variety
of approaches for resolving the Inter-Tajik conflict. That conflict has
been so many-sided, so contradictory and so prolonged that from time to
time the society would not only stop discussing ways of its resolution
but would lose all hope of achieving peace and reconciliation in the country.
Sometimes violence seemed to be the only way of consolidating the society.
However, gradually it became clear that all kinds of violence would only
sharpen contradictions and delay their resolution. This understanding has
come gradually, and the Inter-Tajik Dialogue has played a supporting role
in facilitating the peace process. In the course of the Dialogue its participants
through long disputes and discussions came to a conclusion that the key
to the settlement of the Tajik conflict could only be found by negotiating,
by reaching a compromise and by stopping all violence. There can be no
winners in a fratricidal civil war.
With its statements and appeals to the Government of Tajikistan and
the United Tajik Opposition, the Inter-Tajik Dialogue urged them to realise
the extreme danger of continuing confrontation and military activities.
With its strong appeals for peace and national reconciliation, the Dialogue
assisted in starting the official Inter-Tajik negotiations and in their
progress. The appeals of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue to the participants in
the conflict to recognise the necessity of moving towards one another,
of continuing a search for compromise and of being ready for certain concessions
for the sake of achieving peace and national reconciliation met with understanding
and positive response from the majority of the population of the republic.
These appeals were dictated by a noble goal-to stop the senseless conflict,
to prevent its expansion, to localise it, to avoid its internationalisation
and finally to prevent the Tajik state from self-destruction.
The Inter-Tajik Dialogue united people with different political views
and with the passage of time was able to bring them together and to transform
them into serious partners. But for such an atmosphere, the Dialogue would
not have been able to reach purposeful results, positive on the whole.
Participants in the Dialogue-despite their differences as independent individuals-were
interested in a search for ways out of the national crisis, in achieving
peace and national reconciliation. Recommendations contained in the memoranda
of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue were strengthened by the independence and professionalism
of its participants.
The Inter-Tajik Dialogue helped to attract the attention of the participants
in the official Inter-Tajik negotiations to specific problems, which when
solved, could assist in a further successful continuation of the negotiations.
No one was to blame that recommendations of the Dialogue were not always
realized immediately. Indeed it was because of the complexity and many-sidedness
of the Inter-Tajik conflict that not all reasonable approaches to its resolution
were adopted promptly.
The experience of organizing and conducting the Inter-Tajik Dialogue
within the framework of the Dartmouth Conference beyond reaching its main
goal-resolving the conflict and achieving peace and national reconciliation-has
still another very important meaning. This experience makes it possible
for the participants in the Dialogue to use it in resolving other regional
and local conflicts and to introduce the ideas of the Dialogue into the
democratic structure of the civil society of Tajikistan.
The post-accord period of development raises new problems. Those who
are interested in strengthening peace and national reconciliation may take
part in settling these problems.
The Inter-Tajik conflict raised a great number of problems, and to settle
them will require time. In the atmosphere of disorder and chaos there appeared
a lot of people who live by violating legal norms and moral standards.
They have accumulated great fortunes through robbery and violence which
have become the norm of their living. Nowadays they are fiercely fighting
for spheres of influence, redistribution of profitable positions and governmental
posts. The complexity of the problem lies in the fact that criminal and
corrupted elements have established a foothold in a lot of governmental
positions, and it is not easy for the society to get rid of them. Very
often, questionable or even outright criminal elements infiltrate law-enforcing
agencies and interfere with their fighting criminal activities. Very often
it is they who obstruct achievement of peace and reconciliation in Tajikistan,
implementation of the agreements reached at the Inter Tajik negotiations,
settlement of the problems of the post-accord period in the country and
strengthening of trust and mutual understanding.
Under these circumstances, development of all democratic institutions
of a civil society and their successful functioning help to involve people
in solving difficult problems.
During four years of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue, serious political changes
have taken place in Tajikistan. First of all, is a transformation of views
and relations between the Government and the opposition-from hostile relations
to a gradual rapprochement and finally to a joint search for ways out of
the crisis. This rapprochement did not happen by itself but due to the
efforts of many interested in achieving genuine peace and national reconciliation
in Tajikistan. Recognition of their importance carried appeals of the Inter-Tajik
Dialogue to the opposing sides for their rapprochement, showed the error
of their claims to be exclusive representatives of the people and especially
the futility of their hopes to overcome the opponent. In conflicts of this
kind, as a rule, there are no winners; finally both sides turn out to be
The role of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue is clearly seen also in conveying
participants' analysis to international organizations, the United Nations
(UNO) in particular, about the actual causes, motives and subjects of the
Inter-Tajik conflict. Having received these analyses, the UNO represented
by emissaries of the United Nations Secretary General took an active part
in settling the Inter-Tajik conflict. Being in the midst of activities
they often averted complication of the situation and prevented a new turn
in the dangerous confrontation. International organizations did a lot to
explain to the world community what danger the Inter-Tajik conflict presented
to world peace.
The Tajikistani participants in the Dialogue representing different
sides of the political spectrum not only helped to provide the Dialogue
with up-to-date information on the state of the Inter-Tajik conflict. Every
time returning to their homes in Tajikistan they assisted in the dissemination
of ideas, principles and decisions of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue in the republic.
The Government of Tajikistan was regularly informed about the work of
the Dialogue. Some participants of the Dialogue spread ideas of the Dialogue
among wide circles of the community through newspapers, in auditoriums
and at scientific forums.
The authority of the participants in the Dialogue, their professionalism
and their independent opinions on the most complicated aspects of the Inter-Tajik
conflict have inspired trust and understanding.
Protocols of the official Inter-Tajik negotiations and agreements on
organization of political structures contain measures implementation of
which will require, among other things, adoption of legal acts by competent
government authorities to ensure their realization. Support of these conciliatory
documents and legal acts which result from them should become a matter
of concern and attention of those who value the cause of peace and national
reconciliation in Tajikistan. The Inter-Tajik Dialogue as well as mini-dialogues
functioning in Tajikistan should help this process.
The essence, the main purpose, the spirit of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue
are similar to those democratic institutions, traditions and customs which
existed in the Tajik society for ages.
The Inter-Tajik Dialogue, in effect, continues in the spirit of Tajik
traditions by conducting the mini-dialogues which have already started
functioning and without doubt have a prospect for developing. The first
mini-dialogue has been organized in Dushanbe which brings together scholars,
writers and poets to discuss the problem of regionalism, to study its causes
and roots and to find ways of overcoming its divisive consequences. It
is worth stressing that the organizer of this mini-dialogue is one of the
participants of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue. Using her experience, she involved
authoritative people who know the problem of regionalism, its roots and
its consequences. The group held six rounds of the mini dialogue in the
first half of 1997, and its businesslike work gives hope for its progress
and effective development. Participants in the mini-dialogue gain experience
in the joint search for ways of resolving the most complicated problems
of the society.
The scope for functioning of mini-dialogues in Tajikistan is enormous.
The post-Soviet period in Tajikistan is burdened with a multitude of problems
which must be properly discussed and resolved through a common effort.
These problems became even more complicated because of the Inter-Tajik
conflict which represents in the concentrated form all existing socio-political
contradictions and problems.
Mini-dialogues can be organized on issues of national importance as
well as on local issues. In our view they might be as follows:
1. Regionalism: Its positive and negative aspects. Struggle against
the negative influence of regionalism on government structures and on selection
of people for government jobs as well as against protectionism and regional
2. Problems of overcoming consequences of the civil war-the need for
economic restoration and overcoming inter-regional alienation and hostility.
Support for confidence-building measures among regions of the republic.
3. Multi-party system; ethics of inter-party struggle; participation
of public organizations in the formation and activities of elected government
organs; principles of their relationship; functioning of public organizations
within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan.
4. Interethnic relationships; strengthening of interethnic relations,
overcoming obstacles standing in the way of constructive interethnic relationships;
developing interethnic contacts at the level of the individual, family,
village, town and region. Working out a mechanism for considering the interests
of ethnic minorities at all levels of governmental structures and public
5. Problems of women's equality with men, their social, economic, political,
legal and family needs.
6. Problems of a family, attitude of the society towards the presently
developing tendency toward polygamy; status of illegitimate children; attitude
to families with many children, to abortions and to the age of marrying.
7. Development of entrepreneurship, its encouragement and its limits,
measures to be taken against monopolization, ethics of business activity
and freedom of competition.
8. Freedom of the press, governmental and private mass media, guarantees
of freedom of information, competition and antimonopolistic competition.
9. Freedom of conscience; liberalization of the legislation on religion;
lationship between governmental organs and religious organizations;
of the Muslim ceremonies into traditions and customs of the society;
religion and politics.
10. Issues of education, medical service, social security, municipal
service, sanitary conditions, environment and ecological safety. Prospects
of their further development.
11. Issues of observing the law, of securing public order, rights and
freedoms of an individual, cleansing of the law-enforcing agencies of corrupted
and criminal elements.
12. Involvement of refugees who returned to their motherland from the
far and near abroad into the socio-economic life of Tajikistan, rendering
help for their reintegration and providing them with jobs, helping in reconstruction
of their houses, providing them with necessary privileges, securing their
safety and guaranteeing their rights and freedoms.
Non-governmental organizations as an important institution of a civil
society play an effective role in proliferation of the practice of organising
and holding mini-dialogues. Growth of their number and further enhancement
of their functioning can intensify their role in preventing conflicts in
the society and in advocating ideas of peace and national reconciliation.
They are first steps in forming public opinion on the above mentioned issues.
It is necessary to emphasise that in Tajikistan development of the noble
ideas and principles of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the framework of
the Dartmouth Conference depends on many factors. But the main one among
them is strengthening of democratic processes that may help to spread the
practice of dialogues.
* * *
As this book was in the final stages of publication, it was our privilege
to hold the twentieth meeting of the Dialogue-the first meeting in the
new post-accord phase that began with the signing of the peace agreement
from the Inter-Tajik Negotiations on June 27, 1997. We include the memorandum
from that meeting to demonstrate our conviction that the Dialogue will
play as important role in the period of post-conflict peace-building ahead
as it did in the peacemaking phase of the past four and a half years.
March 4, 1994
on the Negotiation Process in Tajikistan
The Tajikistan Dialogue of
the Dartmouth Conference has met six times since March 1993. It has involved
participants reflecting a broad range of perspectives and positions on
the situation in Tajikistan. Their meetings have been moderated by American
and Russian members of the Dartmouth Conference Task Force on Regional
Having taken into consideration:
-the importance of a political
settlement, establishment of a stable peace, and civil reconciliation;
-recent statements of both
sides on the necessity to start negotiations aimed at achieving peace,
stability, and development of the republic including the statement of the
opposition that it relinquishes any claim to political power;
-the need to create conditions
for holding a referendum on the constitution and election of a new parliament
on the basis of a multi-party system and respect for human rights and freedom
in a democratic state;
the members of the Dialogue
address to the leaders of the Republic of Tajikistan and of the opposition
these ideas on beginning and organising negotiations between government
and opposition forces.
The common tasks of the negotiating
1) to agree on a plan for
cooperation of all who must be involved-including national minorities-to
end violence, restore public safety, and create conditions for the return
2) to agree on a draft constitution,
to plan organisation of a nationwide public deliberation in preparation
for a referendum on that constitution, and to design creation of conditions
for free, democratic elections;
3) to plan political processes
for national reconciliation and formation;
4) to agree on organisation
of a national task force on economic stabilisation and development.
To accomplish these tasks,
the negotiating team will create, coordinate, and oversee the following
I. The Working Group on Public
Safety and Return of Refugees will:
1. agree on a cease-fire;
2. present an immediate plan
for disarmament of all armed formations that do not respond to the conditions
and requirements of the policy of national and civic reconciliation;
3. present a longer-term
plan for the full and complete disarmament of the population to constrain
criminal activity and general public violence.
This plan will include provisions
a) a commission to organise
cooperation of all who must be involved;
b) a peacekeeping force to
accomplish the disarmament (Russian forces have been suggested);
c) developing a tactical
plan and timetable by regions for the disarmament;
d) coordinating implementation
with return of refugees;
4. present the outline of
a plan which would be adapted to conditions in each region for return of
refugees to places of their former residence with appropriate compensation.
If they cannot return to their former residences, they should by all means
This plan would include provisions
a) collection of data on
refugees, on their intent to return, and on place of
b) a commission to organise
cooperation of all who must be involved, including creation of regional
commissions and coordination with international and non-governmental organizations;
c) coordinating the return
of refugees with economic activity to provide jobs and to meet basic human
II. The Working Group on
the Constitution and Political Reform will:
1. discuss and agree on the
final draft of the constitution;
2. agree on a process of
public deliberation on the draft constitution, including steps necessary
for creating conditions for open deliberation;
3. agree on organisation
of a referendum on the constitution;
4. agree on the process for
holding free and democratic elections;
5. agree on timing of the
first election under the new constitution;
6. propose an overall timetable
for this whole process that would build confidence in the constitution
and new political practices.
III. The Working Group on
Political Process and National Reconciliation will give special attention
to designing political processes and institutions to make the constitution
work as a realistic foundation for the formation and development of a Tajikistani
state. For instance, it could:
1. review regional plans
for return and resettlement of refugees and propose ways of conducting
this process that could promote reconciliation in communities and regions;
2. review plans for public
deliberation and elections to propose ways of conducting those processes
that would promote development of national political practices and institutions;
3. propose steps for dealing
with grievances and violations of rights during the civil war in a way
that will promote national reconciliation over time;
4. consider plans for participation
of national minorities in the democratic transformation of the state and
political processes as full-fledged members of the society.
IV. A Working Group on Economic
Rehabilitation and Development will consider proposals to establish special
commissions that would work on developing a national economic reform program.
Before such a group is formed, the negotiating team should consider whether
these tasks might be performed more effectively by the Working Group on
Public Safety and Return of Refugees.
1. In the short term, the
Group will coordinate economic rehabilitation in destroyed areas to which
refugees are returning and design job training and other programs for disarmed
2. In the longer term, the
Group will plan and oversee a comprehensive economic development effort.
3. It will propose ways for
development of the entrepreneurship and consider prospects for creating
The negotiating team will
assure appropriate coordination and connection among the activities of
the Working Groups.
June 22, 1995
of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue
Within the Framework of the
Dartmouth Conference on National Reconciliation in Tajikistan
The Inter-Tajik Dialogue
of the Dartmouth Conference met in June 19-22 in Russia for the twelfth
time since March 1993. Building on discussions in the past four meetings,
the Dialogue focussed on a political process for moving from civil war
to peace, stability, democracy and economic development.
The participants in the Dialogue
concentrated their attention on the elaboration of a program of actions:
1. A near-term period of
reciprocal efforts by government and opposition to create conditions for
the conclusion of an agreement on a mechanism to design and oversee a political
process of national reconciliation.
2. A longer-term period in
which the Inter-Tajik negotiations will create a Coordinating Council for
National Reconciliation to guide the activities of four work commissions
to direct the implementation of decisions of the Inter-Tajik negotiations.
In addition, there should
be formed in the Republic a Political Consultative Council, and a Congress
of the Peoples of Tajikistan should be convened to bring together citizens
from all regions, political parties and movements and national communities
to consider and solve important questions facing the people of Tajikistan.
The Political Consultative Council will make recommendations for the consideration
of the President and the Majlis. The procedure for deciding the convocation,
status, functions and powers of the Congress of the Peoples of Tajikistan
shall be determined during the Inter-Tajik negotiations.
1. To reconcile all the citizens
of Tajikistan regardless of their regional, political and nationality membership
within a sovereign, democratic, law-governed, secular and unified state.
2. To provide safety and
security for all citizens based on rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
3. To develop broad participation
in the functioning of the political system and the affairs of the civil
society on the basis of insuring equal participation in power among all
regions, political parties and movements and national communities.
4. To develop the economy
of Tajikistan on the basis of different forms of property and its active
inclusion into the world economy. All the citizens of the country should
be given equal rights and opportunities to participate in the economic
activities of the country.
5. Development of the constitutional
process with a view of further democratisation of its norms and statutes.
Formulation of the structure and functions of organs mentioned in this
CREATING CONDITIONS FOR AGREEMENT ON MECHANISMS FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION
In the interests of national
reconciliation and speedy recovery from the deep political and socio-economic
crisis that struck Tajikistan, it is expedient that the following confidence-building
measures be undertaken:
1. A permanent cease-fire
is to be established and all other hostilities are to be stopped both along
the border with Afghanistan and inside Tajikistan itself.
2. Arrested and war prisoners
are to be exchanged or unilaterally released.
3. Amnesty is to be declared
for all those who participated in the civil war.
4. Proper conditions are
to be created for the return and resettlement of refugees and forcefully
5. The ban on political parties
and movements whose activities were forbidden should be lifted.
6. Freedom of speech and
press should be guaranteed.
COORDINATING COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION
Participants in the Inter-Tajik
negotiations will create the Coordinating Council for National Reconciliation.
The Council shall include
representatives of the principal regions, political parties and movements
and national communities of Tajikistan.
On the authority of decisions
of the participants in the negotiations, the Coordinating Council will
implement decisions from the negotiations through four commissions. These
commissions will take their instructions from the Coordinating Council.
The following commissions will be established:
The Commission on Internal
Security and Disarmament will be concerned with security on both regional
and national levels. Specifically, it will focus on:
-public safety, including
establishment of security zones where special problems exist and where
international observers may be needed;
-ceasefire (noting that a
joint commission to monitor the ceasefire already exists).
The Commission on Refugees
and Temporarily Displaced Persons:
The Commission on Democratic
Law and Practice:
and rule of law;
The Commission on National
-rehabilitation of national
economy and strategy of development;
The commissions will have
the authority to promote the unification of efforts of government and non-governmental
organizations to resolve specific problems.
1. Rahim Hashimov and Tagai
Rakhmonov insisted on the following addition to paragraph 5 of Overall
"All these organs will be
complementary and not competitive to one another or to any government organs."
2. Zaid Saidov said that
a "Coordinating Council for National Reconciliation" should be titled "National
Reconciliation Council" and its status, functions and tasks are to be determined
in the course of Inter-Tajik negotiations.
of the 13th Round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the Framework of the Dartmouth Conference
"REGARDING THE CONSULTATIVE FORUM / CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLES OF TAJIKISTAN"
At the 13th round of the
Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the framework of the Dartmouth Conference,
which took place in Pushkin, Russia, on September 11-14, 1995, the participants
considered the issue of the Consultative Forum/Congress of the Peoples
of Tajikistan, called upon to promote the implementation of the process
of national reconciliation in Tajikistan.
In their work, the participants
of the Dialogue were guided by the provisions of the "Protocol on the Main
Principles of Peace-making and National Accord in Tajikistan" signed by
Mr. E. Rakhmonov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, and Mr. Said
Abdullo Nuri, leader of the Tajik Opposition, on August 17, 1995. In the
process of their work, the participants in the Dialogue also referred to
the memorandum of the 12th round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the
framework of the Dartmouth Conference, as of June 22, 1995.
The participants in the Dialogue
focussed on the elaboration of options to implement the decision to establish
the Consultative Forum/Congress as well as continuing to discuss steps
to create conditions for making peace and reaching national accord in Tajikistan.
According to the opinion of the participants in the Dialogue, the Consultative
Forum/Congress of the Peoples of Tajikistan to be established should perform
the following functions:
1. To promote the development
of the required conditions for all the political parties and public movements
to function and to take part through their representatives in the State
2. To promote further democratisation
in Tajikistani society.
3. To promote reforming the
state law-enforcement bodies, disintegration, disarmament and reintegration
of the Opposition's armed groupings into the governmental armed forces
or the civil sphere of the country.
4. To promote voluntary,
safe, and honorary repatriation and reintegration of refugees and protection
of their interests.
5. To promote the updating
of the Constitution and legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan in the
spotlight of the achieved mutual understanding of socio-political matters.
6. To elaborate recommendations
on the restoration and development of the Republic's economy and its reforming.
7. To assist in social protection
of all the strata of the population to provide civilised life conditions
for every citizen.
The participants in the Dialogue
agreed upon the following principles for a mechanism of decision-making
within the Consultative Forum/Congress:
1. All the procedural issues
related to the activities of the Forum/Congress shall be decided by a simple
majority of the members' votes.
2. Decisions on the key issues
related to the above-mentioned functions of the Forum/Congress shall be
made by a qualified (two-thirds) majority of its members' votes.
3. Principal political problems
of the relationships between the Government and the Opposition shall be
decided through a consensus.
4. To prepare substantiated
proposals, the Forum/Congress shall set up a Commission in charge of the
elaboration of such draft proposals and their submission for consideration
by the plenary meetings of the Forum/Congress.
The participants in the Dialogue
also reached agreement on the mechanism
of implementing decisions
of the Forum/Congress. In doing so they proposed the following:
1. The Forum/Congress shall
form out of its membership a standing body-Presidium-under which committees
and commissions might be set up.
2. The cooperation between
the Forum/Congress and State bodies shall be guaranteed through the mutuality
of decisions, the implementation of which shall be based on the acts of
the relevant State body.
3. In case State bodies ignore
the Forum's/Congress's decisions, the Forum/Congress or its Presidium can
revisit the same issue and submit its second version in the same or new
formulation to both the relevant State body and a UN representative and
Having agreed that all the
main political and public forces of the country, including the Opposition,
as well as regions and ethnic communities, should be represented in the
Consultative Forum/Congress, the participants in the Dialogue failed to
formulate a single principle for the establishment of the Forum/Congress
and for the apportionment rate between different political and public forces.
That is why in the course
of the Dialogue two options of establishing the Forum/Congress were stated.
Supporters of the first option
hold that since the Consultative Forum/Congress of the Peoples of Tajikistan
is called upon to promote reconciliation between the confronting parties
and national accord and taking into account the existing balance of the
political forces, the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the
United Tajik Opposition, the two main parties sharing the entire burden
of the confrontation, should be assigned 40% each of the total number of
the Forum's/Congress's participants. The remaining 20% of the participants
should be nominated by ethnic communities and non-governmental organizations.
This implies that the first two groups shall comprise representatives of
the regions (Badakhshan, Khatlon, Leninabad, Karategin, Guissar, and the
City of Dushanbe) and public and political forces.
Supporters of the second
option hold that since, apart from the Government and Opposition forces
inside the Republic, there exist the old and the newly formed public and
political forces with a considerable social background which profoundly
influence the situation in the country, they should be given representation
on equal footing with the government and the Opposition in the Forum/Congress,
that is 50% of the total membership. In its turn a half of that number
should be assigned to representatives of political parties and ethnic communities,
while the other part should be assigned to representatives of public and
professionally-oriented organizations. Thus the apportionment of the entire
membership of the Forum/Congress shall be 25% : 25% : 25% : 25%.
ORGANIZATIONAL STEPS TO ESTABLISH THE CONSULTATIVE FORUM/CONGRESS
In the opinion of the participants
in the Dialogue the concrete procedural issues related to the establishment
of the Forum/Congress should be within the jurisdiction of the Organizing
Committee which is to be set up by a joint decision of the Government and
the Opposition. At the same time it was proposed to include on the basis
of parity representatives of the Government, Opposition and non-governmental
public and political organizations into the Organizing Committee.
November 30, 1995
of the participants of the
14th round of the Tajik Dialogue within the framework of the Dartmouth
Conference to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov,
the leader of the United Tajik Opposition Said Abdullo Nuri, the leadership
of international organizations and the states-observers, the heads of the
official delegations to the Tajik negotiations in Ashkhabad (Turkmenia)
Welcoming the agreements
achieved by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov
and the leader of the Tajik Opposition Said Abdullo Nuri regarding the
basic principles of establishing peace and national reconciliation in Tajikistan
stated by them in the Kabul Joint Protocol as of August 17, 1995, we assume
it expedient and necessary to accelerate their realisation.
One of the most important
means of resolving political problems in present day Tajikistan including
the deepening of the process of democratisation in Tajik society is the
convocation of the Consultative Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan.
We believe that in the interests
of the national reconciliation it is advisable to shift the date of the
convocation of the Forum to the earliest time.
We also assume that to convene
the Forum and guarantee its efficient functioning it is necessary to observe
the following terms:
a) preliminary information
coverage of the idea of the Forum in the mass media including those of
b) involvement into the work
of the Forum of the most distinguished representatives of the Tajikistani
society including the opposition leaders, without limitations;
c) participation in the work
of the Forum of international observers including those from the UN;
d) broad coverage by mass
media of the work of the Forum and its working commissions as well as of
their passed decisions and agreements;
e) holding of the Forum on
the territory of the Republic of Tajikistan.
We address all interested
parties with a persistent request to consider our recommendations and our
Memorandum of the 13th round of the Tajik Dialogue of September 11-14,
1995 (the text is attached) in connection with the convocation of the Consultative
Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan and to take them into account in the
course of the negotiations.
of the 15th Round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the Framework of the Dartmouth Conference
Participants of the 15th
round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the Framework of the Dartmouth
Conference which took place in the city of Pushkin (Russia) on February
26-28, 1996, having analysed the current socio-political situation in Tajikistan
and having noted its further aggravation, deem it necessary to speed up
convening of the Consultative Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan for the
purpose of resolving the existing crisis and to hold it in the first half
In the interests of guaranteeing
the efficient and productive work of the Forum, participants of the dialogue
consider it expedient to form an Organising Committee for convening and
holding the Forum and to authorise it:
-to prepare a draft document
on the procedure of holding the Forum, envisaging at its beginning presentation
of speeches by the President of Tajikistan, by the leader of the United
Tajik Opposition (UTO) and of information by the UN Secretary-General Special
-to develop drafts of basic
working documents of the Forum as well as a draft of a Declaration on the
National Peace Accord to be further considered and approved by the Forum;
-to provide, jointly with
the competent government bodies, for resolution of all organisation issues
related to registration of the Forum participants, their accommodation,
and personal security;
-to provide in coordination
with the government of the country for a live broadcasting on the national
radio and television speeches of the Forum participants.
Representatives of all major
forces: the government, the UTO, public and political movements, and organizations
acting inside the country.
Participants of the dialogue
expressed, however, two different viewpoints as to the norms of representation
of these socio-political forces in the Forum Organising Committee and in
the Forum itself.
Supporters of the first viewpoint
proceeded from the assumption that as long as the main responsibility for
resolution of the current crisis situation is born by the government of
Tajikistan and the UTO they should be given 40 per cent each of the total
number of delegates of the Forum; the remaining 20 per cent may be allocated
to the representatives of ethnic communities and other public and political
Supporters of the second
viewpoint proceeded from the assumption that in the present situation neither
the government nor the UTO reflect fully enough the interests of the entire
social spectrum of the country; that is why, in their opinion, ethnic communities
and other public and political organizations should be represented at the
Forum on the parity basis with the government and the UTO.
Participants of the dialogue
also believe that in order to guarantee an efficient implementation of
the Forum's basic decisions of principal importance, it is expedient to
obtain their approval of such decisions by consensus as distinct from approval
of procedural and other secondary issues by simple majority.
If participants of the Forum
refuse to approve any submitted draft resolutions, the latter should be
returned to the Forum working commissions for reconsideration.
The adopted documents of
the Forum may be open for further signing by these socio-political organizations,
which have not been represented at the Forum.
of the 16th Round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the Framework of the Dartmouth Conference (Dushanbe, May 21-23, 1996)
At the 16th round of the
Inter-Tajik Dialogue, which was held for the first time in Tajikistan,
its participants exchanged opinions on the current state of the socio-political
situation in the country and stated their deep concern over its serious
deterioration. Confrontation among various political, regional, and clan
interests has reached such a stage that they believe the territorial integrity
and even the sovereignty of Tajikistan comes under serious threat.
Official negotiations between
the government and the United Tajik Opposition, which are assigned to ensure
the achievement of national reconciliation, have not, up to the present
moment, achieved the results expected by the society.
Participants believe that
the primary obstacle to peace in Tajikistan is the absence of an adequate
understanding on sharing power among the regions, political movements,
and nationalities in Tajikistan. They believe this is essential in giving
all citizens practical opportunities to participate fully in the political,
economic, and social life of the country.
In this context, participants
in the Dialogue strongly urge the government of the country and the leader
of the United Tajik Opposition to carry out immediately resolute actions
aimed at ensuring peace and public reconciliation in Tajikistan.
In the opinion of participants
in the Dialogue the achievement of these goals can be facilitated by undertaking
in some combination steps such as the following:
1. Establishment of a Coordinating
The negotiating teams would
immediately create a broadly based working group to coordinate nationwide
implementation of a peace agreement. This Commission would be responsible
to the Inter-Tajik negotiations and would have the authority to bring together
all elements of the Tajikistani government and society to accomplish agreed
tasks in the areas of refugee settlement, disarmament, economic development,
and constitution reform. (This option was described in the Inter-Tajik
Dialogue's memorandum of June 1995.)
2. Broadened participation
Independently of the course
of the negotiations, the government could undertake in the immediate future
steps to widen participation in the government of the country on all levels-national,
regional, and local-of representatives of all major socio-political forces.
3. Broadened participation
in the Inter-Tajik negotiations
Each negotiating team would
enlarge its delegation to include elements of those groups whose views
are not adequately represented in the current negotiations.
4. Meetings between Leaders
A meeting between the President
of Tajikistan and the Leader of the United Tajik Opposition in the nearest
future would be useful in overcoming the deadlock in the negotiation that
has emerged. It would be useful to examine during this meeting the fundamental
obstacle to peace-the problem of a broader sharing of power within the
constitutional framework to increase participation of citizens from the
broadest possible range of regions, political movements, and nationalities.
5. Early establishment of
the Consultative Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan would create conditions
which would permit a broadly representative group of Tajikistani citizens
to express their views. (This step has already been agreed and needs to
be implemented quickly.)
6. Ask the United Nations
to assemble an international conference to assist the Inter-Tajik negotiations
in reaching an early peace agreement.
Participants in the Dartmouth
Conference Inter-Tajik Dialogue stressed that their purpose in listing
these interrelated options is not to recommend any one of them but to urge
that some of them be taken together to build a momentum for an early peace
agreement. Some combination of such steps is essential to reversing the
present spiral of disillusionment and to providing a foundation for hope
and a positive change in the lives of Tajikistani citizens.
One of the participants objected
to the proposal of setting up of the Coordinating Commission arguing that
it might be interpreted as assignment of power functions to the Commission.
of the 17th Round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the Framework of the Dartmouth Conference (Moscow, October 8-10, 1996)
At the 17th round of the
Inter-Tajik Dialogue, its participants described a mixed picture of developments
in Tajikistan over the past four months. They felt that the peace process
in their country is at a critical juncture.
They were encouraged by the
initiative taken at the local level to negotiate the cease-fire agreement
in Karategin Valley (Garm Protocol) with the encouragement of the Joint
Commission on the observance of the Tehran agreements and the U.N. Mission
of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), adopted by field commanders of the
Karategin Valley and members of the State Commission of the Republic of
Tajikistan. They were also encouraged by the agreement to establish a security
zone on both sides of the border in the Khorog area which was reached with
the participation of border guards and elders.
At the same time, they were
deeply concerned by negative developments: the effectiveness of opponents
of peace in government, opposition, and external forces; sharpening inter-ethnic
and inter-regional divisions within Tajikistani society; the continuing
hardships of economic life; and the absence of progress of the Inter Tajik
negotiations toward a peace agreement.
Believing that it is essential
to build momentum toward peace, participants recommended the steps below
which are deeply rooted in their dialogue and conclusions since 1993.
It is necessary to broaden
public participation in the efforts to achieve peace by developing a multi-level
peace process in order to assure the widest popular involvement in achieving
and implementing a nationwide peace agreement.
Both sides should give priority
to crucial issues of power-sharing, amendments to the constitution, prospects
of economic development, and conditions for effective involvement of the
United Tajik Opposition in the normal political activity of Tajikistan.
Specifically, participants in the Dialogue recommend:
A. Extending the process
of agreements on security and cease-fire on the local level, following
the example of the Garm Protocol. Participants urge completion of an agreement
in the Tavil-Dara area and efforts to extend the peace process to other
To accomplish this work,
participants urge a substantial increase in the size, functions, and powers
of the Joint Commission. Participants also urge inclusion of local political
and administrative officials in future talks.
B. Establishing immediately
the Consultative Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan as a popular mechanism
for a nationwide dialogue on the future of Tajikistan.
Creation of the Consultative
Forum was approved by the president of Tajikistan and the leader of the
United Tajik Opposition in Tehran in July, 1995. Its approval was recorded
in the Protocol published in Kabul in August 1995. The Inter-Tajik Dialogue
wrote a memorandum on its organisation, method of work, and relation to
the government in September 1995.
Participants believe that
one of the main obstacles to peace is lack of a common vision about what
kind of country the Tajikistani people want their country to become. A
central element in that vision must be an understanding on sharing power
among the representatives of the regions, political parties, social movements,
and national communities in Tajikistan.
These questions must be the
first agenda of the Consultative Forum. A common vision shared by the citizens
of the country is the necessary foundation for a negotiated peace agreement.
C. As a mechanism for reaching
a broadly based peace agreement, the government and opposition delegations
to the Inter-Tajik Negotiations should broaden participation in the peace
process as follows:
-each negotiating team would
change its delegation in order to represent adequately the interests of
all the layers and groups of the society;
-the negotiating teams would
further develop their practice of working on several levels simultaneously.
(1) They will use working
groups of experts and advisors to involve field commanders in making recommendations
on military and security issues.
(2) They will also use such
an expert group to involve local officials and administrators as appropriate.
The negotiating teams will
invite suggestions from the Consultative Forum to broaden the involvement
of citizens in the peace process.
D. As a mechanism to oversee
implementation of a peace agreement, a Committee on National Reconciliation
may be established to work within the framework of the constitution and
the generally accepted norms of international law.
Participants in the Inter-Tajik
Dialogue recommend that the Committee should include representatives of
the principal regions, political parties and social movements, and national
communities in Tajikistan.
The Dialogue participants
further recommend that the Committee, whenever possible, work through effective
existing joint commissions and other groups. For instance, a sub-committee
on internal security and disarmament could work through the Joint Commission
and the State Commission that negotiated the Garm Protocol.
E. As a mechanism to stimulate
civil society, Dialogue participants encourage the citizens of Tajikistan
to strengthen and develop the growing network of citizens associations
and non-governmental organizations.
Dialogue participants also
appeal to the government and the Majlis-i Oli to cooperate with citizens
in writing and passing a series of laws that will constitute a legal framework
that will enable these organizations to grow and to work effectively in
building the civil society of Tajikistan.
Recent developments have
demonstrated the importance of agreements and achievements at the local
level. Only associations of citizens outside government working within
the constitutional framework can enlarge the capacity of citizens to play
their necessary role in building new Tajik society.
of the 18th Round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue within the Framework of the Dartmouth Conference (Pushkin, St.Petersburg, Russia, February 25-27, 1997)
Participants of the 18th
round of the Inter-Tajik dialogue came to a conclusion after an intensive
exchange of opinions that lately a new serious threat to internal stability
has developed in Tajikistan, i.e. a deepening fragmentation of national
political life. Acceleration and deepening of multi-level peace process
is required to meet this threat.
This fragmentation of the
political life is reflected in a growing number of regional groups as well
as in emergence of numerous ambitious politicians and field commanders
who are using in their advantage in their narrow interests the slow negotiation
process between the Central government and the United Tajik Opposition
These developments lead to
growing regionalism, interethnic strife and criminalisation of the society.
The situation has become so serious that in the opinion of the Inter-Tajik
Dialogue participants neither the Central government nor the UTO are capable
by now of exercising effective control over the total area of Tajikistan.
In order to prevent the situation
from going completely out of control, participants of the 18th round of
the Inter-Tajik Dialogue appeal to the Central government and leaders of
UTO to accelerate the signing of the General agreement on national reconciliation
that would include basic regulations providing political freedoms, disarmament
and reintegration of military groups and return of refuges to their homes.
An early conclusion of such an agreement should not be held hostage to
tactical maneuvers of either contracting parties since any further delay
in signing this agreement would play directly into the hands of those elements
and destructive forces that are interested in maintaining a low intensity
conflict situation in Tajikistan and even in its actual disintegration.
Signing of the General agreement
on national reconciliation should not be, however, an end in itself since
its implementation would be impossible without involvement in this process
of a wide range of political and public groups representing a full diversity
of regional and ethnic spectrum of Tajik society. The Commission for National
Reconciliation will work during a period of transition to peace and national
consent. It will promote the establishing of order and lay the foundation
for the long-term development of Tajikistan.
According to the participants
of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue, an early convocation of the Consultative Forum
of the peoples of Tajikistan would help to overcome the further fragmentation
of the Tajik society, regionalism and interclan contradictions, as well
as to involve all forces in the country to the constructive discussion
of the ways and methods of the regulation of the present conflict. This
Forum is called upon to assist the implementation of functions and powers
of the Commission for National Reconciliation. Moreover, the convocation
of this Forum will further a broad representative basis for the citizens
of Tajikistan to exchange views on the long-range perspectives of the development
of their country. This Forum must open the way to the legal participation
of the wide spectrum of political forces in the efforts to build a unite,
democratic and secular nation.
of the 20th round of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue (October 27-29, 1997, Moscow)
A PERSPECTIVE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROCESS OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION IN TAJIKISTAN
At its 20th meeting, participants
in the Inter-Tajik Dialogue discussed fundamental questions about the future
of Tajikistan. Saluting the energetic approach of the National Reconciliation
Commission (NRC), the participants attempted to formulate some important
principles concerning the future structure of Tajikistan and considered
it necessary to call attention to the solution of the following immediate
I. First, according to the
participants in the Dialogue the overarching priority is strengthening
a unified Tajikistan. Although participants recognised the desirability
of enhancing the effectiveness of regional and local government, they felt
that at this moment of Tajikistan's development, it is more important to
reinforce the unifying capacity of central government. At the same time,
there is a need to achieve a balance of power between the executive and
legislative branches in the government of Tajikistan. In the opinion of
the participants, a reform of the Parliament is necessary in order to change
the existing method of its election and organisation to enhance its effectiveness.
Second, it is essential to
address urgently the subject of economic recovery. The Dialogue recommends
that the Commission establish a working group on economic problems to include
representatives of all regions of Tajikistan.
Third, participants emphasised
that the process of national reconciliation must continue beyond the transitional
period during which the National Reconciliation Commission will function.
To provide a public space for continuing dialogue on strengthening national
unity, the Dialogue continues to recommend a Consultative Forum of the
Peoples of Tajikistan as an appropriate institution.
II. In order to expedite
the resolution of the refugee problem, to protect social and economic rights
of returning refugees, migrants and displaced persons and to ensure their
security, participants recognised a need to carry out national policy on
-taking into account compatibility
of refugees, migrants and displaced persons with social, psychological
or ethnic environment in places of their possible resettlement;
-taking into account wishes
and desires of refugees, migrants and displaced persons themselves as to
intended places of their resettlement;
-without any discrimination
of rights and freedoms either against refugees, migrants and displaced
persons or against the people living in places of resettlement;
and social adaptation centers throughout the republic, especially in places
III. On Disarmament and Military
Participants recognise that
this bloc of issues carries a critical importance for the process of national
reconciliation and therefore requires special attention.
The Commission on National
Reconciliation will play a central role in resolving military issues; however,
this mission may not be fully successful if larger sections of Tajikistani
society do not take an active stand against the spread of criminal activities
in the republic.
The success of the military
reform will depend equally on a systematic reintegration of former opposition
troops into the regular armed forces of the republic and on a careful attestation
of servicemen of the government armed forces. It will also depend on reintegration
of both into the normal political processes of the country.
The integration into the
society and the economy of men who leave military service will require
the assistance of the citizens of Tajikistan.
In conclusion, the participants
in the Dialogue emphasised (1) that all above mentioned problems are interrelated
and (2) that all of them will require the involvement of all the citizens
of Tajikistan. The Dialogue underscores its recommendation that the commission
and the government create necessary conditions for the people of Tajikistan
to participate actively in the resolution of all outstanding problems and
to consolidate the unity of the people of Tajikistan.