ULFA to open unconditional talks from Feb 10 (Lead)February 5th, 2011 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS
Guwahati, Feb 5 (IANS) The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Saturday said unconditional peace talks with the central government will begin Feb 10, in a move that may bring the curtains down on more than three decades of insurgency in Assam.”Formal peace talks with the government of India are expected to begin in New Delhi Feb 10 with no conditions from either side. We expect a mutually acceptable solution to the long standing Assam-India conflict,” ULFA “foreign secretary” Sasha Choudhury told journalists here Saturday.
This is the first formal ULFA statement regarding the holding of unconditional peace talks with the government. The ULFA leader refused to elaborate.
“We had taken the decision to open unconditional peace talks at our general council meeting,” he said.
The talks, to be held in New Delhi, will be led by ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. The government side could possibly be headed by Home Minister P. Chidambaram or Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.
Indian government peace interlocutor P.C. Haldar and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi are expected to take part in the first round of the talks.
“We are communicating the decision of the general council meeting to our commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah and we are sure he would endorse our views. In fact, Paresh Baruah is bound to accept the general council (decision),” Choudhury said.
The ULFA leader, however, said vested interests were trying to scuttle the peace process. “We must be careful as vested interests were desperately trying to block the peace talks.”
With assembly elections around the corner, there are fears that the ULFA could be used or support the ruling Congress party.
“Let us make it very clear that we shall have no role to play in the elections and we shall keep away from politics at this point in time,” Choudhury said.
Barring the elusive commander-in-chief Pareh Baruah, almost all top ULFA leaders are out on bail, with the government facilitating their release from jails to pave the way for peace talks.
The leaders out on bail are Arabinda Rajkhowa, vice chairman Pradep Gogoi, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka and octogenarian political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.
Paresh Baruah is believed to be holed up somewhere along the China-Myanmar border and his stand on the peace talks is still unclear.
The ULFA was formed in 1979 with the objective of carving out an independent homeland in Assam. The over 30-year-old insurgency has claimed more than 10,000 people.
- First round of ULFA peace talks begins Thursday - Feb 09, 2011
- ULFA split, Paresh Baruah rejects Feb 10 peace talks - Feb 07, 2011
- ULFA splits into talk and anti-talk factions - Nov 20, 2011
- ULFA holds meetings for peace talks - without Baruah - Feb 02, 2011
- Paresh Baruah faction rejects ULFA peace talks - Jan 21, 2011
- ULFA offers ceasefire to pave way for talks (Lead) - Jul 12, 2011
- ULFA moves towards peace talks with government - Jan 18, 2011
- ULFA, government begin Assam peace talks (Roundup) - Feb 10, 2011
- Another ULFA leader released on bail, way paved for talks - Jan 12, 2011
- ULFA holds peace talks, says meeting positive - Aug 05, 2011
- ULFA executive discusses modalities for peace talks - Jan 20, 2011
- Assam allows ULFA chief's bail plea, facilitates peace talks - Dec 16, 2010
- ULFA, Chidambaram hold peace talks, seven-member goup formed (Intro Roundup) - Feb 11, 2011
- ULFA chairman Rajkhowa released from jail (Lead) - Jan 01, 2011
- Assam CM Gogoi hopes for peace on ULFA front after Rajkhowa's release - Jan 01, 2011
Tags: acceptable solution, assam india, assembly elections, congress party, council decision, formal peace, gogoi, government of india, government side, home minister, interlocutor, more than three decades, p chidambaram, paresh baruah, peace process, pillai, unconditional peace talks, unconditional talks, united liberation front, united liberation front of asom