GoI-IM talks to continue abroad
Source: The Sangai Express

New Delhi, June 29: The NSCN(I-M)-Centre talks on resolving the Naga issue, under strain of late, are expected to continue abroad with the likely departure of Naga leaders for Amsterdam later this week.

The Government is also understood to be moving towards extending the ceasefire with the insurgent group which expires on July 31.The peace parleys would continue between the Government and the NSCN (I-M), led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, abroad in the coming days, sources in the insurgent group said.

Muivah leaves for Amsterdam on July three.

�The talks will continue to be held abroad in the coming weeks.

The Government, we have been assured, is serious about resolving the (Naga) dispute,� the sources said.

Muivah, the NSCN(I-M) general secretary, has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Shivraj Patil in the past few weeks.

Before he leaves for Amsterdam, another round of meeting is expected with members of Group of Ministers on the Naga issue, including Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation Oscar Fernandes, the sources said.

Several rounds of meetings have been held between the NSCN(I-M) and the GoM in the past few months since Swu and Muivah came to India in December last.

�We are confident of reaching a solution�, Fernandes had said recently.

However, the NSCN(I-M) has recently charged the security forces with �deliberately undermining� the ceasefire and asked the Government to restrain them.

The ceasefire was extended in July last year after talks NSCN(I-M) in the Thai resort of Chiang Mai, where both sides agreed to carry on the dialogue to find a lasting and peaceful solution to the vexed issue.

The ceasefire agreement was first entered into in 1997.This was the second time that top NSCN(I-M) leaders interacted with top Indian leaders since the truce with the government was set in motion in 1997.In January 2003, Swu and Muivah had visited Delhi and met the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy L K Advani.

However, the Naga leaders feel that UPA Government is avoiding a resolution of the core issue of integration of Naga-inhabited areas, without which they say there could be �no solution at all� to the Naga problem.

With the Centre in favour of a consensus among the people of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to resolve this crucial issue, Muivah had said earlier this month that this amounted to �having the fate of Naga people being decided by them.

It is an insult to the Nagas and we will never accept this�.

He had told PTI that NSCN(I-M) was �willing� to talk to the people�s representatives from the three states to explore an understanding on the issue.

�But so long as the government is backing them, they will not say yes� to the talks and the Government would use it �as a pretext not to resolve the issue�, he had said.