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Govt-NSCN (I-M) talks from Wednesday

June 21, 2004 13:07 IST

The Manmohan Singh government will for the first time open talks with the Nationalist Social Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) from Wednesday in the Netherlands to find a solution to the insurgency problem in Nagaland.

The Centre's special representative, K Padmanabhaiah, and Intelligence Bureau Director K P Singh will leave New Delhi on Tuesday for Amsterdam to hold parleys with the outfit's chairman Isak Chisi Swu and general secretary T Muivah, sources said.

Complete coverage: The Ceasefire in Nagaland

The talks will last three days beginning June 23, they said.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

The charter of demands submitted by the Naga group was discussed at the meeting and it was decided that the negotiations should continue.

The NSCN (I-M) demand for a 'Greater Nagaland' to incorporate Naga-dominated areas of the neighbouring states in the Northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur, was also discussed.

The demand for Greater Nagaland had sparked-off angry protests in Manipur after which the previous National Democratic Alliance government withdrew an order extending ceasefire in Nagaland beyond the state's borders.

The peace process got a symbolic boost last year when Swu and Muivah visited India for the first time in 36 years and met the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani and other leaders.

The Centre and the NSCN (I-M) had entered into a ceasefire agreement in 1997 and the two sides have since held several rounds of talks in Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Thailand, Japan and Malaysia.

The two NSCN (I-M) leaders were scheduled to arrive in New Delhi in mid-February for talks with the Centre but the meeting was cancelled due to the general election.

The rival NSCN group led by guerrilla leader S S Khaplang, which has also been observing ceasefire since 2001, has also announced its decision to start talks with the new government soon.

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