An 8-member Core Committee on Naga Political Issue (CCoNPI) led by chief minister Neiphiu Rio held a consultative meeting with a 10-member NSCN (I-M) delegation led by 'lt. gen.' (Rtd) V.S. Atem at Police Complex Chümoukedima Saturday, as the Naga public grew impatient with the prolonged delay in securing a solution to the Naga political issue after 24 years of negotiations that officially ended.
The Centre has stated that it is willing to sign a broad agreement with all NPGs for a single solution to the Naga political issue.
Both sides met behind closed doors for a marathon four-hour meeting on Saturday. After the meeting, Neiba Kronu told reporters that both sides had "fruitful" and "meaningful" discussions on a number of issues, and that the meeting was by far one of the best ever held between the two sides. The meeting, according to Kronu, succeeded in bringing both sides closer together in terms of understanding their respective positions, as well as sending "a good message to the Central government."
"We are hopeful that through a very good understanding, we may bring a solution as soon as possible," he said when asked if a solution could be expected anytime soon. The CCoNPI is also expected to inform Assam chief minister and NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma of the meeting's outcome so that it can be taken to the Centre.
Kronu responded that the CCoNPI would discuss it with the Government of India, in response to the NSCN(I-M) insistence that the Framework Agreement include the flag and constitution, which has been a roadblock to signing a broad-based agreement.
The core committee meeting with the NSCN (I-M) comes after the latter's visit to Delhi, where its delegation met with A.K. Mishra, the government of India's representative for Naga talks, according to UDA chairman TR Zeliang. The core committee had asked the NSCN(I-M) to continue the talks because it was the only way to reach a settlement, Zeliang said.
He also stated that the committee would like to continue talks with the Centre, and that highlights from Saturday's meeting would be forwarded to the Centre in order to "pursue further negotiations." Representatives of the NSCN (I-M) refused to speak to the media when approached.
The delegation included: co-convenors: deputy chief minister Y. Patton, UDA chairman T.R.Zeliang, and NPF leader Kuzholuzo Neinu; member secretary Neiba Kronu (NDPP); and members– G. Kaito (NDPP), Y.M. Yollow (NDPP), and Dr. Ngangshi (NDPP) (NPF).
V.S. Atem, Rh. Raising, 'gen.' Ninghkan Shimray, T.T. Among, Vikiye Sümi, K.K. Angami, 'lt. col.' (Rtd) Neipfupe Venuh, R.T. Tsanglao, Kraibo Chawang, and Chuba Pongener were among the NSCN (I-M) delegation.
On May 31, the NSCN (I-M) will hold a crucial emergency national assembly meeting in Hebron, where the Naga political issue will be discussed.
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