Cannot set ultimatum on negotiating parties, NPF says on Naga political issue

The NPF statement came when peace talks are on to find a lasting solution to the seven-decade-old insurgency problem in Nagaland in New Delhi.

Published: 30th October 2019 11:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2019 11:50 PM   |  A+A-

Naga People's Front flag

Naga People's Front flag

By PTI

KOHIMA: The opposition Naga People's Front (NPF) on Wednesday said it cannot set an ultimatum on the negotiating parties of Naga political issue, though it desires an early settlement of the vexed problem.

The NPF statement came when peace talks are on to find a lasting solution to the seven-decade-old insurgency problem in Nagaland in New Delhi.

"We reiterate our stand that elected members as facilitators cannot put an ultimatum on the negotiating parties and comment on what to accept and what not in the final agreement.

It is for the negotiating parties to sit together and hammer out differences and come out with a logical conclusion," NPF Legislature Party Spokesperson Imkong L Imchen in a statement here.

The Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) - holding separate talks with the Centre since 2017 - had made an appeal on Monday not to maintain "neutral stand" and clear their position when the government was keen to find a solution to the matter.

"There arises no question of the NPF, both from the organisational wing or the legislature wing, putting conditions for the final solution," Imchen said.

Earlier this month, Imchen said, during a meeting with Governor and the Centre's interlocutor R N Ravi, NPF Legislature Party T R Zeliang had urged him to work out a formula for the contentious issues of flag and constitution.

The on-going talks have been convened in Delhi in a bid to iron out differences, particularly on the NSCN-IM's demands for a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas, which have already been rejected by the Centre.

"Unfortunately at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN-IM has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement, raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and Constitution on which they are fully aware of Government of India's position," Ravi had said in a statement last week.

Imcheng said, the NPF Party Central Executive Council had adopted a resolution in June on the Naga symbolic issues.

The resolution said, "The NPF strongly feels that any political solution without recognising the symbolic identity of the Nagas will fall short of Naga aspiration."

It also "strongly urges the parties to come to term for an honourable inclusive political settlement without further delay."

A framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah and Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India's Independence in 1947.

The central government has already rejected the NSCN-IM's demand for unification of Naga inhabited areas -- located in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

The three northeastern states had also vehemently opposed it.

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