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ULFA mediators to meet NSA on Wednesday

india Updated: Aug 21, 2006 17:34 IST

Taking the ongoing peace process in Assam a step forward, two mediators between the ULFA and the Government will meet top officials on Wednesday, second time within a week, to discuss "major issues" ahead of the proposed direct talks between the banned group and Centre.

Assamese writer Indira Goswami and Rebati Phukan, a childhood friend of ULFA "commander-in-chief" Paresh Baruah, will meet National Security Advisor MK Narayanan and Home Secretary V K Duggal on Wednesday and are expected to apprise them about the ULFA's views on the holding of direct talks.

"We will meet again on Wednesday. All major issues, including the release of five jailed leaders of ULFA, would figure in the meeting," Goswami said.

Goswami and Phukan had meet Narayanan and Duggal on Friday last and reviewed the progress made after the June 22 meeting between the ULFA-nominated People's Consultative Group and the Centre.

Significantly, on Friday itself the banned group had announced "cessation of hostilities" in Assam for the first time in its 27-year armed campaign for a separate homeland.

The announcement came following August 13 decision of the Government to suspend all operations by security forces against the militants in a goodwill gesture to bring ULFA to the negotiating table.

The mediators are likely to press for a clarification from the Centre on ULFA's demands for the release of five of its jailed leaders, tracing missing cadres in Bhutan and the key demand of sovereignty for Assam.

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