Peace talks focus on mutual respect
Kohima | June 1 : The Government of India and the NSCN/GPRN today reiterated commitment to exploring ways to find an early negotiated settlement to the Naga political issue that is honorable and acceptable, based on the uniqueness of the Naga situation and history, with mutual respect for each other.
Briefly addressing newspersons at ‘The Heritage’ in Kohima after today’s historic round of peace parleys that lasted for over three hours, both the Centre’s interlocutor for the peace talks, RS Pandey, IAS (Retd) and NSCN/GPRN General Secretary Th. Muivah said a wide range of issues was discussed where some headway was made even as both sides could not come to conclusions on several issues.
According to Pandey, both sides agreed that nothing would be imposed on each other; that negotiations would continue with mutual respect for each other and understanding the other’s difficulties. He said they also agreed to make all possible efforts to arrive at an early solution; that they will not allow obstructions to come in the way of the peace talks. Pandey said the rounds of talks already held have been along ‘positive lines’. “We hope in due course of time we will be able to hammer out the contentious issues,” he said.
Terming today’s peace parleys as “very significant”, Muivah asserted that both sides are committed to exploring any means to overcome difficulties that stand in the way. He appreciated the sincerity and seriousness of the Prime Minister of India to find a solution acceptable to both. “Both sides are serious enough and are trying to explore possibilities for negotiations”, he said. “We are trying to come to a meeting point”.
On the issue of integration, Muivah said it is natural that Nagas do not want to be divided. The Nagas’ aspiration to be together is natural he said and asserted that “we believe the government of India also understands it and hope they will solve this issue.” “Anything that would be just to the cause of the Naga aspiration can be solved in course of time”. On sovereignty, Muivah sought to make it clear that “sovereignty is with the Naga people and not with others”.
Also, Pandey pointed out that the issue of integration and sovereignty cannot be solved without political consensus. Pandey said that the Centre needs a consensus among the states concerned on the issue of integration. Maintaining that the unity and integrity of India has to be maintained, he assured that both sides are sincerely trying to find a solution to the Naga problem. He also emphasized that the difficulties of both the sides have to be appreciated and understood. He insisted that the Nagas’ aspiration will be respected.
Pandey extended an invitation to the NSCN/GPRN to hold the next round of talks in New Delhi. While appreciating the invitation, Muivah however said he would first hold consultations with the people. When asked on the impasse over his proposed visit to his native village, Somdal in Ukhrul district, Muivah said “We have the patience.” He also further cited the problem of security. On the ongoing agitations and the stalemate between Nagaland and Manipur arising out his proposed visit, he said the situation is a creation of Manipur and termed it as a “big mistake”.
Pandey and Special Director of Intelligence Bureau Ajit Lal represented the Indian Government in today’s talks while the NSCN/GPRN delegation was led by its General Secretary, Th. Muivah and consisted of several top leaders of the group.
Peace talks focus on mutual respect