NSCN-IM-Govt talks end on positive note
Talks between separatist Naga guerrillas and New Delhi's peace negotiators have ended in Amsterdam.india Updated: May 21, 2006 20:12 IST
Talks between separatist Naga guerrillas and New Delhi's peace negotiators have ended in Amsterdam with both sides agreeing to meet soon for fresh negotiations, a militant leader said on Sunday.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, have been struggling for nearly six decades to create a "greater Nagaland" by slicing off parts of three neighbouring states to add to the mountainous Nagaland state.
"The talks were very positive and the two sides agreed to meet for another round of negotiations within a month," NSCN-IM spokesman Kraibo Chawang said over phone from Nagaland's commercial hub, Dimapur.
The two-day talks ended in Amsterdam late on Saturday with the Indian side represented by central minister Oscar Fernandes and chief peace interlocutor K Padmanabhaiah.
The seven-member NSCN-IM team was led by its general secretary Muivah.
"The Indian government negotiators and our leaders seriously explored possibilities for hammering out a solution," said senior NSCN-IM leader RH Raising.
"There were some positive commitments from both the parties in the talks."
The NSCN-IM and New Delhi entered into a ceasefire in August 1997, which has been renewed regularly. The latest truce expires July 31.
The demand for a "greater Nagaland" that would unite 1.2 million Nagas has been strongly opposed by the surrounding states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
The rebels and the government have held at least 50 rounds of peace talks in the past nine years to end one of India's longest running insurgencies.
The top rebel leadership has been living in self-imposed exile for the past 38 years.
"The government negotiators at the talk's demonstrated tremendous political will and the peace process have now reached a very crucial phase," Chawang said.
The NSCN-IM on the eve of the Amsterdam talks threatened to pull out of the ceasefire unless New Delhi accepts its call for a tribal homeland.
"There can't be any solution without merging all Naga-inhabited areas in the northeast," Chawang had said.
"If required we shall have to fight again to get our rights."