TODAY -

Naga pact soon, says TR Zeliang
Source: The Sangai Express

Guwahati, June 24 2016 : Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang has said that National security adviser Ajit Doval and the Centre's interlocutor for Naga talks, RN Ravi, were hopeful that the Naga peace deal would be concluded soon.

Zeliang, who was here to attend the meeting of the North East Democratic Alliance (Neda), a BJP-floated platform of non-Congress parties, was reacting to reports about the Centre agreeing to grant a separate flag and passport for the Naga people as part of the peace deal.

The NSCN (I-M) top brass had signed a framework agreement with the Centre in New Delhi on August 3 last year.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Zeliang, who leads an Opposition-less Government, said, "I have to confirm it (separate flag/passport issue) from (NSCN-IM general secretary) Th Muivah.

I don't know how far this is true but negotiations are going on in full swing, sometimes twice or thrice a week.

During my interactions with Doval and Ravi, I have come to know that both sides are keen on finding a solution and understand and appreciate each other's problems.

"I will be meeting Ravi when I am in Delhi this time.

He has told me there are no hurdles as such, only little differences which have to be sorted out.

We are equally hopeful of an early solution," he said.

Zeliang said the proposed visit by the State's 60 MLAs to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and impress upon him to expedite the peace deal, was on.

"We are waiting for an appointment with the Prime Minister who is on a foreign trip.

We hope to get one after he returns.

Doval will communicate the date to us," he added.

Zeliang said Modi had insisted on a select group of MLAs visiting Delhi for effective talks but had agreed to the entire team's visit when he was told that all the 60 MLAs desired to see him.

The MLAs' "desire" to meet Modi is understandable because he was present during the signing of the framework agreement.

Muivah had then praised Modi's "statesmanship" towards finding a political solution.

Muivah had also said during the 69th Naga Independence Day celebrations at Camp Hebron, the NSCN (I-M)'s council headquarters, on August 14 last year that the final solution would be based on "shared sovereignty" .

Nagaland lawmakers have pledged to vacate their seats, if necessary, for an honourable solution acceptable to all sections of people.

Both sides have to tread carefully, more so the Centre, because Assam and Manipur have made it clear that the final deal should not affect the neighbouring States.

The NSCN (I-M) claims areas in the neighbouring States as parts of greater Nagaland, something vehemently opposed by the two States.

Zeliang also hoped that Neda would work out a strategy for "peaceful" coexistence of its constituent States in the North East and resolve the problem of militancy so that the region could emerge as a "peaceful zone" .

"Once the Naga issue is resolved, Ulfa and Bodo issues will also be resolved.

It should not be a problem.

It will then open the gates for peaceful development," Zeliang said.


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