Government holds talks with Naga rebels

May 28th, 2008 - 9:35 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Another round of talks between the central government and the rebel National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isaac-Muivah) took place here Wednesday as representatives of both sides carried forward the dialogue process after last week’s meeting. The closed-door meeting, sources said, was held between selected members of NSCN(I-M), led by self-styled brigadier of the outfit Phungphing Shimrang, and the government’s interlocutor in the Naga peace talks K. Padmanabhaiah.

Maintaining secrecy about the meeting, sources said there was some progress in the peace talks.

“Both parties are working out various ways to attain a satisfactory solution to the long standing Naga problem,” a source close to the NSCN(IM) told IANS.

According to officials involved in the talks, Wednesday’s meeting was the immediate follow-up of a key meeting that took place between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Naga rebel leader Thuingaleng Muivah May 22.

In fact, Muivah had camped for more than a month in the national capital to meet Prime Minister Singh.

The government, said officials, was serious about bringing peace to the violence-hit north-east by making a breakthrough in the peace talks with Naga rebels and efforts were on to work out a deal short of “greater Nagaland”, which the NSCN(I-M) has been demanding.

Sources said that NSCN(I-M) chairman Isak Chishi Swu spoke to the leader of the breakaway NSCN (K) faction, S.S. Khaplang, to bring about unification among the rival Naga militant outfits and this was an important step as both sides have looked at each other with mistrust and suspicion.

The political dialogue between the government and the NSCN(I-M) began in February 1997.

The ceasefire agreement between both sides has been constantly renewed from August 1997.

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