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NSCN, Govt in peace pledge

Govt negotiators and Naga leaders end three days of talks in Amsterdam with a resolve to end insurgency.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 13:22 IST

Government negotiators and leaders of Nagaland's dominant separatist group ended three days of talks in Amsterdam with a resolve to resume discussions early next year to bring the curtains down on nearly six decades of insurgency in the northeastern state.

Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes and main peace interlocutor K Padmanabhaiah headed the government team in the discussions that ended Wednesday. Guerrilla leader T Muivah headed the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isaak Muivah (INSCN-IM), the main rebel group in the state.

"The two parties held a series of discussions on outstanding issues and agreed to resume discussions early next year. We are hopeful of making further progress in resolving those issues," a joint communiqué signed by Padmanabhaiah and Muivah said.

The NSCN-IM and the government entered into a ceasefire in August 1997. This has been renewed regularly. The present ceasefire expires June 2007.

The NSCN had in October proposed "a special federal arrangement" that enables the Nagas self-governance although the negotiations ended inconclusively. It is also seeking a separate Naga constitution under a special federal tie up.

"We have reiterated our demands for a special federal arrangement. We were told that our demands will be taken up again in talks in January," a NSCN-IM leader said.

"We have made our point very clear that delaying the peace process would be counter productive as the Nagas are getting restive."

The NSCN-IM is seeking a "Greater Nagaland" by slicing off parts of three neighbouring states to unite 1.2 million Nagas. Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam oppose this.

New Delhi and NSCN-IM have held more than 50 rounds of peace talks in the past nine years to end one of South Asia's longest-running insurgencies.

First Published: Dec 07, 2006 13:01 IST