New Delhi, July 18: Negotiators of the central government and the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), the dominant separatist group in the northeastern state, Monday narrowed down difference hindering the peace process and pledged to work for an early settlement.
New Delhi’s main peace interlocutor R.S. Pandey met NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah here following which they issued a joint statement vowing to continue negotiating.
‘While the differences between the two parties have narrowed, some of the proposals would require further negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable solution,’ the joint statement said.
It said the ‘sustained negotiations’ over the past few months have led to a set of proposals for an ‘honourable political settlement’ of the Nagas living in parts of northeastern states.
The NSCN-IM has been struggling for nearly six decades to create a ‘Greater Nagaland’ by slicing off parts of three neighbouring states to unite 1.2 million Nagas. The demand is opposed by Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, the states that ring Nagaland.
The statement said that any settlement would be based ‘on the uniqueness of Naga history and situation which was recognised by the (government) in 2002 as well as the contemporary realities and a future vision consistent with the imperatives of the 21st century’.
‘By appreciating and respecting each other’s position and difficulties, both the parties are confident of working out a settlement in the shortest possible time,’ it said.
The two sides have held nearly 60 rounds of peace talks in the past 14 years to end one of South Asia’s longest running insurgencies that has claimed over 25,000 lives since 1947.