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Politics of compromise: The Tajikistan peace process

Conflict in Tajikistan began to escalate during the break-up of the Soviet Union. By 1992 this Central Asian republic was engulfed in civil war. Different interest groups fought for control of the state and the principles that would guide it: secular or Islamic; democratic or authoritarian.

After more than three years of peace talks, a power-sharing agreement was signed in June 1997, establishing a joint Commission for National Reconciliation to oversee its implementation. By 2000, the Tajikistani government and the United Nations (UN) had declared the peace process a success.

Accord issue 10 describes the aspirations of the parties to the conflict and explores the negotiation process leading to the 1997 General Agreement. It examines the role of the international community, led by the UN, and of local civil society in reaching a negotiated peace settlement.

The publication takes an in-depth look at what was an exceptionally well-coordinated peace process, which can provide useful lessons for elsewhere. It also provides full texts of the main peace agreements, a chronology of the peace process and profiles of key people involved.

This issue of Accord was edited by Kamoludin Abdullaev and Catherine Barnes.

If war can be understood in part as the failure of politics by ordinary means, the Tajik peace process helped to end the war through restoring the politics of compromise.

Catherine Barnes & Kamoludin Abdullaev, Accord issue 10