Shillong: Tripartite talks between the Meghalaya government, Government of India and Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), are expected to begin by the first week of June.

Addressing a press conference for the first time at the MeECL IB Guest House at Umiam on Tuesday, the outfit informed that negotiations cannot be held without conditions.

Although the group is uncertain of where the talks will be headed, it said that the peace talk cannot continue forward if the state and central government does not consider amnesty for the organization.

The press conference was attended by the organisation’s interlocutor Sadon Blah, vice chairman, Manbhalang Jyrwa, Political Secretary Aristarwell Thongni, Storgy Lyngdoh and Raymond Lapang PSOs.

Blah told reporters that a few rounds of informal talks was held to break the ice between the negotiating parties.

 “Breaking the ice in a sense, we cannot go straight into the political demands of the organisation. What we have done in these four-five deliberations is that we talked about the safe passage for the leaders of the HNLC to be able to come to India and have face-to-face discussions,” explained Blah.

In this regard, he informed that about a year ago, it was agreed upon that all participating leaders of the organisation can move freely to proceed with the peace process.

“As far as amnesty is concerned that is a subject matter which we will be placing in the first formal meeting that is going to be held soon,” he said.

Blah informed that the topic on a ceasefire agreement will be discussed during the first meeting, where they would listen to the technicalities and then have discussion with the Home Ministry and the state government. 

HNLC interlocutor said that the talks will be a gradual process.

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When asked about other issues and agendas that the group intend to address, Blah said, “The organisation since its inception has looked at this violation of instrument of accession and annex agreement as a big aggression so the HNLC through the peace process and through its struggle for the past 35 years wants to rectify the mistake committed.”

He added that the IOA and the annexed agreement will be reviewed after the first formal talk.

Asked if the talks will be unconditional, Blah said, “No negotiation can be without condition all negotiation are based on certain conditions if there is no condition there is no negotiation”.

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Meanwhile, HNLC vice chairman said that the purpose of the press conference is to inform the public and the people about what is going on with regard to the peace talks with the Centre and State.

“The status right now is we will be having formal talks very soon in the first week of June and after the formal talks then only we will be able to deliberate further,” he added.

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