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Two-day Naga talks begin in Amsterdam

The talks begin amid increasing pressure from the Naga outfit seeking an early and "honourable" settlement of the problem.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 22:23 IST

The two-day talks between the NSCN(IM) and the Government began in Amsterdam on Friday amid increasing pressure from the Naga outfit seeking an early and "honourable" settlement of the more than five-decade-old problem.

"The talks have begun. We are holding informal discussions today. We will hold formal parleys tomorrow," Centre's pointsman for Naga talks and Union Minister Oscar Fernandes said phone from the Netherlands city.

"We are discussing all relevant issues in the talks and I am hopeful of a positive outcome," he said.

In the talks, the government is being represented by Fernandes and interlocutor K Padmanabhaiah while the NSCN(IM) side is led by its Chairman Isaac Chishi Swu and General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah.

NSCN(IM) has been demanding a clear government stand on unification of Naga-inhabitated areas in the North East as well as an early and "honourable" settlement to the problem.

Maintaining that the talks are expected to focus on substantive issues that would be crucial for the future of Nagas, NSCN (I-M) 'Kilonser' (minister) for Information and Publicity, Jhoney Dilbung said in a statement in Kohima on Friday "if more than half a century (of) loss due to the conflict for both parties cannot be an eye opener and diplomacy replaces it, then there looms graver darkness on the horizon."

Fernandes had said on Tuesday that the Naga issue has to be resolved as a "package" and the Centre would respond point by point to the outfit's charter of demands.

"Talks are a continuous process. These have to be held in many stages before things can evolve in concrete shape.