Nagaland: Some Progress Made in Talks
"Both sides had serious discussions on outstanding issues. The parties have agreed to resume discussions early next year," a joint communique issued today said.
After the talks on Monday and Tuesday between the central team, led by Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, and a NSCN-IM delegation headed by chairman Isaac Chisi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, both sides said they were hopeful to make further progress in resolving all issues in the next round of talks.
"At least some progress has been," top NSCN-IM leader V S Atem told reporters over phone.
Asked whether the rebels were satisfied in the latest round of talks, since the previous round of discussions held in October ended with a deadlock, Atem said "Nagas cannot be satisfied till their aspirations were fulfilled".
On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent statement in Imphal that
NSCN-IM's vision of an integrated Naga homeland includes parts of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and
The talks, which started in 1997, had entered a "critical" stage despite differences on several key issues including integration of all Naga-inhabited areas of the northeast, the sources said.
The rebels are understood to have raised the issue of the Prime Minister's Imphal statement.
Both sides are understood to have discussed the limits of flexibility within the constitution and whether a "sub- national constitution" could be accommodated within it.
This has become a thorny issue as the NSCN-IM has proposed a federal relationship with the Indian union, they said.
Reports of major clashes between cadres of the NSCN-IM and its rival NSCN-Khaplang, which resulted in the death of several people in the recent past, also figured in the talks.
The meeting reviewed progress made since the NSCN-IM submitted a 20-point charter of demands to the centre.
In this charter, the NSCN-IM had sought the unification of all Naga-inhabited areas of the northeast, separate representation at the un and greater rights over natural resources, finance, defense and policing.
The NSCN-IM agreed to a ceasefire with the Centre in august 1997 and the two sides have held numerous rounds of talks within