FlashBack April 1997

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Proposed Nagaland Peace talks face many tangled snarls

Since NSCN(IM) is the mainstay of most of the militant outfits in the north-eastern region, providing them with arms, a settlement with this premier underground outfit, it is believed, will be a major step forward towards the goal of bringing insurgency to an end in

The Prime Minister did not disclose where and when he met the two NSCN leaders. But on February 21, Dr. V. Chishi Kanito, president of the Sema Ho Ho (elected council of the Sema tribe) told a media seminar in Kohima that Swu and Muivah had met Deve Gowda at Zurich in Switzerland on February 3. He also claimed that during the meeting Deve Gowda had indicated he was not averse to holding the talks at a mutually agreed venue, not necessarily in India. The fact of the meeting was also confirmed by other independent sources in Kohima.

However, not much progress seems to have been made since the February 3 meeting towards holding the actual talks. Reports from Kohima say both sides are working out the “modalities” of the talks. Also, sitting down for talks at the negotiating table and arriving at the substantive settlement are two different things. While the prospect for the second bristles with difficulties.