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Home > News > Report

Assam CM to skip Centre-ULFA talks

K Anurag in Guwahati | June 21, 2006 14:02 IST

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will not attend the third round of talks between the People's Consultative Group, nominated by the banned United Liberation Front of Asom, and the government of India.

A source in the Chief Minister's Office in Guwahati informed that Gogoi had expressed his inability to attend the talks, scheduled for tomorrow, citing health problems although he had assured a PCG delegation that met him in Guwahati on Tuesday evening, of full cooperation from the state government to make the talks fruitful.

Gogoi had undergone treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi for few days immediately after he return from a trip abroad recently.

"The chief minister told us that he wouldn't be able to present in the third round of discussion between the PCG and GOI on health ground. He assured that senior state government officials will be sent to talks on behalf of the state government," PCG spokesman Arup Borbora informed.

The PCG had earlier insisted on Gogoi's direct involvement in the peace initiative and requested the Union Home Ministry to send a formal letter of invitation to Gogoi. The PCG has been maintaining that cooperation of the state government was a must for ensuring the success of the peace initiative aimed at bringing ULFA leadership to direct talks with the Centre to find a solution to over 26-year-old insurgency problem in the state.

Several key issues, including release of certain senior jailed ULFA leaders and the recent series of bomb blasts suspected to be triggered by the ULFA in the state, are expected to top the agenda of discussion in the third round of preparatory talks, which will be chaired by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

The earlier two round of talks, which were chaired by National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, were held in October 2005 and February 2006. The last two round focused on confidence building measures to create an atmosphere conducive for direct dialogue between Centre and the ULFA.

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