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Assam, Nagaland CMs to meet Shah soon on Naga peace talks

Nagaland,National,Politics

Author : Indo Asian News Service

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Kohima, Nov 29 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio would soon meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the Naga political issue and the opposition-less United Democratic Alliance (UDA) government in Nagaland, officials said here on Monday.

A senior Nagaland government official said that both Sarma and Rio already individually talked with Shah about the Naga peace talks while the Centre is holding meetings with the leaders of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), the dominant group of the Naga outfits.

Sarma, who is the convener of the BJP-led alliance of regional parties -- North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), is already involved in the peace talks and attended meetings with the Central government's representative A.K. Mishra in September in Dimapur.

"The two Chief Ministers' meeting with the Union Home Minister expected to be held later this week or early next week," the official said on condition of the anonymity.

About the upcoming meeting with the Union Home Minister, Rio, while talking to the media in Kohima, said that he is not aware about the latest development on the Framework Agreement, signed earlier between the Central government and the NSCN-IM.

Media reports said that the Framework Agreement has become a roadblock to the "final settlement" of the Naga political issue.

To take forward the Naga peace process, the ruling and opposition parties in Nagaland recently agreed to form an all-party government named the UDA headed by Rio.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is now an ally of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), and the opposition Naga People's Front (NPF) and two Independent MLAs are the partners in the government.

The Central government has been separately holding peace talks with the NSCN-IM and eight other Naga outfits, which came together a few years ago under the banner of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs).

The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in 1997. Since August 1997, the NSCN-IM has held over 85 rounds of negotiations with the Centre. The Naga outfit and intelligence sources said that while many of the 31 demands of the Naga groups have been almost resolved during the talks with the Centre, differences remained over a separate flag and a separate constitution.

The NSCN-IM's demand for integration of the Naga-dominated areas of the neighbouring states -- Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh - was also strongly opposed by all the three states.

--IANS

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