The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naga boss packs bags

New Delhi, June 11: Disappointed with the lack of progress in the peace talks, leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) have decided to pack their bags and go back to Amsterdam.

Thuingaleng Muivah, the general secretary of the NSCN(I-M), has confirmed that he will leave Delhi on or around June 24.

Refusing to comment on when the NSCN(I-M) leaders might return to India, Muivah said: “I cannot say whether or when we will come back.” He rejected the suggestion that he was going away for only four weeks, as some in the government believe, and would return thereafter.

The chairman of the outfit, Isak Swu, has not returned to the peace talks after he left Delhi in February. He went away for treatment, but was expected to rejoin the peace talks. However, he has not done so. Anthony Shimray, head of the outfit’s foreign command, who was summoned for the peace talks, left the capital for Bangkok today.

The eight-year-long ceasefire with the NSCN(I-M) is coming to an end on July 31. Even if their departure is a pressure tactic, it does not bode well for the ceasefire extension talks. “Naturally, the ceasefire talks will have to be held outside India now,” Muivah said.

The NSCN(I-M) leader, however, rejected the suggestion that he was saying good-bye to the peace process.

“Once we have given our commitment that we will leave no stone unturned to achieve peace, we do not want to go back on it. But our sincerity should also not be exploited. We cannot go on staying here like this,” he said.

Muivah seemed deeply disappointed that the talks with the government had not yielded any concrete result. The NSCN(I-M) leaders came to India in the first week of December last year and held 12 rounds of talks with the Centre.

“We cannot say that any significant progress has been made. The Indian negotiators made no attempt to overcome the obstacles in the way of a settlement ' defining the pattern of relationship between the Nagas and New Delhi and the unification of the Naga homeland. Without resolving these issues, what kind of solution do they expect'” Muivah asked.

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