Jan 31, 2006

Nagalim: No Headway in Naga Truce Talks

Government and Naga leaders agreed on the continuation of informal consultations in view of imminent end of ceasefire agreement and failure to reach extension so far
BANGKOK, Jan. 30. — Government and Naga leaders today failed to reach an agreement on extension of the eight-year-old cease-fire in Nagaland but agreed to hold informal consultations again tomorrow when the truce expires.

Union minister Mr Oscar Fernandes, who is leading the government delegation at the talks here with NSCN(IM) leaders Mr Isaac Chisi Swu and general secretary Mr Thuingaleng Muivah, said the discussions were on and hoped for a positive result by tomorrow when the six-month extension given to the cease-fire ends.

The cease-fire, brokered in 1997, had continued to be extended by a year since then, but last year it was extended only for six months. “The discussions are on. It (outcome) can be today or it can be tomorrow,” Mr Fernandes said.

Mr Samson Jajo, a senior member of the NSCN (IM) said after the third day of the marathon negotiations that the two sides would hold an informal meeting tomorrow morning.

Mr Jajo, who is the secretary of the Collective Leadership of the Naga group, did not give any details of the day-long talks.

The two sides held formal talks this morning which later spilled into an informal meeting after they failed to reach a decision. However, the day ended without any agreement being reached.

The NSCN (IM) had said yesterday that unless the government of India took “positive” steps on the Naga matter, the group saw no need to extend the cease-fire agreement. “We very, very strongly told the Indian government negotiators that unless the government of India took steps to control its armed forces we will not extend the cease-fire agreement,” NSCN (I-M) said.

The rebel group had alleged that the Indian armed forces had violated the cease-fire agreement by directly helping the rival Khaplang faction. Mr Fernandes is being aided by veteran negotiator Mr K Padmanabhaiah. The meeting to discuss the extension of the cease-fire began on Saturday.

“If we want to extend the cease-fire, the government of India has to control the violations, otherwise why should we?” Mr Jajo had said yesterday.

Source: The Statesman