No deadline for signing Naga peace accord: Rio

No deadline for signing Naga peace accord: Rio

New Delhi, May 3: Amidst hectic negotiations to resolve the Naga insurgency problem, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today said there was no deadline for finding a solution to the decades-old issue, but the focus of the talks was on reaching an agreement as early as possible.
Rio also said the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), which empowers security forces to conduct operations, arrest anyone, anywhere, without prior notice, should be removed from everywhere, but the controversial law was still in force in Nagaland as the situation in the state was still not conducive.
“There is no time-line or deadline for signing the Naga peace accord. But the aspiration is to reach in a solution as early as possible,” he said here after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh here.
Rio said peace negotiations have been going on between the Issak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and the interlocutor of the government for the last two decades and hence it was time to resolve it as soon as possible.
Asked about the possibilities of raising objections by some neighbouring states due to the demand of integration of Naga inhabited areas, the chief minister said, “We don’t want to talk about conflict and focus is on to co-exist”.
Rio had a 45-minute meeting with the home minister during which he discussed various aspects of the Naga peace talks.
A framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015, by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and the government’s interlocutor R N 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 made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India’s independence in 1947.
Rio also said a meeting of various tribal bodies has been convened on May 11 in Kohima to discuss the ongoing peace talks.
Asked about AFSPA, which is in force in Nagaland even though it was completely removed from Meghalaya and partly from Arunachal Pradesh, the chief minister said, “Our demand and desire is that it should be removed. The AFSPA still exists in Nagaland as the situation is still not conducive”. (Agencies)