The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naga talks on but no prying

New Delhi, Oct. 31: The Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) have said that the Naga peace talks will continue despite hiccups along the way, but there will be no more updates for the media on what is being discussed.

Delhi’s interlocutor in the peace talks, former home secretary K. Padmanabhaiah, met Union home minister Shivraj Patil today to discuss the government’s strategy for the next round of parleys.

NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah had sent a note to Padmanabhaiah recently, asking for the next round of talks to be convened before the winter session of Parliament. Since the session has been advanced to November 22, the government is contemplating dates that do not clash with the schedules of the Group of Ministers involved in the dialogue.

“Talks might be held within a month,” Padmanabhaiah told The Telegraph.

The Group of Ministers, headed by Oscar Fernandez, is expected to meet soon to set the agenda for the talks.

Fernandez has accused a section of the media of falsely reporting that the process of dialogue is on the verge of breaking down. There is “neither a deadlock nor a failure of talks”, he said.

The minister also said that both sides have decided during the last round of talks not to go to the media with statements on the negotiations.

The last round of talks involved the Netherlands-based Kreddah, too. But sources clarified that Kreddah has been involved in the talks “on the fringes” and not as a party.

Both sides had previously agreed that the Constitution would be studied in line with the NSCN (I-M)’s demand that a separate one be worked out as part of the “special federal relationship between two entities”.

Padmanabhaiah said no “snap decision” was possible on major decisions. “We are inching towards reconciling,” he said.

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