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No truce before talks with Centre: ULFA

Both the Assam and central government have been reiterating that ULFA must agree for a ceasefire before direct talks.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 15:51 IST

The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) on Thursday rejected the idea of a ceasefire with New Delhi before beginning direct talks with the central government's peace emissaries.

"The question of a ceasefire before talks does not arise. The government of India should immediately begin talks to bring about a political solution to the problem instead of waiting for us to sign a ceasefire agreement," the ULFA said in a statement.

"We are committed to finding a political solution to our problem despite the army unleashing a reign of terror in different parts of the state and stepping up operations against us which is against the spirit of the ongoing talks," the rebel statement said.

Both the Assam and the central government have been reiterating that the ULFA must agree for a ceasefire before direct talks with the rebel leadership.

"Our guns will automatically fall silent once the government tries to resolve the problem politically," the ULFA said.

The rebel group, fighting for an independent homeland since 1979, had in October last year nominated an 11-member People's Consultative Group (PCG), a team of prominent civil society members, to begin peace talks with New Delhi.

The ULFA representatives and government peace emissaries held two rounds of talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairing the first meeting held in New Delhi on October 26.

Singh later said he was ready to discuss "all issues relating to the ULFA".

The PCG had earlier threatened to pull out of talks with New Delhi, accusing the military of stepping up counter-insurgency operations despite the government peace emissaries during talks last month assured of "confidence building measures".

"The military operations must stop and we expect the government to create a congenial atmosphere for the talks. Or else we shall not sit for talks," PCG member Dilip Patgiri said.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 12:25 IST