The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NSCN-IM upbeat on peace talks

Kohima, June 24: Ending speculation about abrogation of the nine-year ceasefire with the Centre, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) today said the next two rounds of talks will throw up “positive results” for the outfit.

The latest round of peace talks of the NSCN (I-M) leaders with the Centre’s team led by Union minister Oscar Fernandez concluded in The Hague today. In a message conveyed by the Naga leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, the outfit said all the substantive issues including integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas were discussed at the two-day parleys.

“The talks were inconclusive, but over the next two or three rounds of talks we are expecting some positive results,” said the outfit’s minister for information and publicity, Kraibo Chawang.

The next round of talks will be held during the first fortnight of the next month, sources added.

The major issue on the agenda this time round has been that of autonomy for Nagaland as proposed by the Centre.

The NSCN (I-M) has been demanding inclusion of Naga-inhabited areas of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in its proposed Nagalim.

The move of the United Naga Council (UNC) of Manipur to try handing over hill house tax first to Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio and then to Union home minister Shivraj Patil has attracted protests in the Imphal Valley.

During the last couple of weeks, the mood in Manipur has been tense while rhetoric from the outfit as well as NGOs gave rise to speculation that the ceasefire might not last beyond July 31. The NSCN (I-M) leadership is also understood to have pressed for a change in the ceasefire ground rules as these have been facing renewed challenge from the rival NSCN (Khaplang), which opposes its demand of integration.

Among the issues discussed this time were separate constitutions and flags in the context of a special federal relationship between the government of India and the proposed Nagalim.

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