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ULFA for peace talks with India
December 27, 2003 17:27 IST
The United Liberation Front of Asom, under attack from the Royal Bhutan Army, has expressed willingness to hold peace talks with the Indian government through a mediator.
"We had been repeatedly requesting Bhutan government to act as a mediator between us and the Indian government and convince New Delhi to agree to focus its discussions on our main demand for sovereignty," ULFA 'commander-in-chief' Paresh Baruah said in a statement in an Assamese daily on Saturday. "Bhutan sought time from us on this."
Only a "nation state" can be a "neutral third party", he said, adding Indian mediators are unwelcome as "we cannot trust them to be neutral".
"We are keen on any scientific talk process by which we can make a beginning in achieving our demands or find that there is scope to make progress.
"But the talks need to centre around the question of sovereignty. New Delhi must demonstrate its sincerity. It can argue its point of view on our demands in direct talks in case we meet."
On Friday, ULFA ideologue Bhimkanta Burhagohain also offered peace talks with the government and asked cadres to lay down arms.
Burhagohain said, "ULFA must come to an understanding with the Government of India to come to the negotiating table and resolve the matter completely."