No breakthrough likely in Naga peace talks before Christmas: Rio

KOHIMA, 20 Dec: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said no breakthrough is likely to be achieved in the ongoing Naga peace talks before Christmas.

Naga negotiators have returned from New Delhi and “no breakthrough is likely to be achieved before Christmas as talks will resume only after this festive season,” he said on Monday, on the sidelines of a programme in Chiephobozou, on the outskirts of Kohima.

On contesting the assembly elections in Nagaland due early next year, he said that the state government has already told the Naga groups that if a solution is not achieved, the state administration must not be blamed as it is only the facilitator.

“I have told them that when the election will be announced, we have to participate in it and that should not be misunderstood,” he said.

Rio said elected representatives have decided that no campaigning will be done till the festive season is over as the 60-member assembly is together in seeking a solution to the Naga political issue.

The union government has been holding separate talks with the NSCN (IM) and the Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) since 1997 and 2017, respectively.

It inked the framework agreement with the NSCN (IM) in August 2015, and the agreed position with NNPGs in November 2017.

While NNPGs have agreed to accept a solution and continue the dialogue, the NSCN (IM) has been rigid on its demand for a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas, which has been delaying a final solution. (PTI)