Ahead of talks, NSCN-IM sticks to sovereignty demand

Ahead of talks, NSCN-IM sticks to sovereignty demand

"It is pretty long time that we have been talking to government of India and it is hight time that the government should take the matter seriously. In more than 10 years, they could not solve the problem so they are responsible for that," NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah said.

Asked whether NSCN-IM had withdrawn the demand for sovereignty for Nagaland, Muivah, who came here last night from Amsterdam for peace talks with the government, said it cannot be withdrawn as it is the people who should decide their fate.

"No, sovereignty cannot be withdrawn because sovereignty is with the people. It is the people who should decide their fate and that cannot withdrawn but the question is how to understand, how are we going to understand Government of India or it should understand us. This is the problem," he said.

The Naga rebel leader said he has come for the peace talks as he was invited by Prime Minister Manmhoan Singh himself and he thought that the Prime Minister was serious in solving the problem.Asked how optimistic he was about the talks, he said, "We have been told that the government of India has arranged some counter-proposals from their side. I don't know how far that is practicable or acceptable to us.

On the appointment of a new interlocutor for Naga talks (former Petroleum Secretary R S Pandey), Muivah said, "He would be a good man. He must be enjoying the confidence of the Government of India but he has to prove himself."

Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai had on Saturday said in Dimapur that demands like sovereignty or integration of Naga-inhabited areas was not feasible.
The top Naga rebel leader, who is based in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, is likely to call on the Prime Minister and Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Ahead of meetings with political leadership, the Naga leader will hold talks with Pandey on March two and three, official sources said.Muivah is also expected to visit Nagaland besides addressing the issue of clashes between the cadres of NSCN-IM and its rival NSCN (Khaplang), which resulted in unrest in the recent past.

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