Shillong: The Meghalaya Government on Wednesday said it has welcomed the statement made by the banned militant outfit Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) offering peace talks.

The government said it is currently working on the names of individuals who can be interlocutors and said they would prefer someone from the society, from different backgrounds, and most importantly people with enough experience. They should have necessary qualities to negotiate well and speak on these matters and understand this subject well, the government has said. 

Briefing the media following a meeting with senior officials, deputy chief minister and the home minister, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said they welcome the statement but would need an official confirmation in the form of a letter from the HNLC.

“We are awaiting a formal written letter from their side, expressing the same that they have mentioned in the press release because as a government we have to get an official communication,” said the chief minister.

He added that as they wait for the official communication, the state government has already started taking steps towards identifying individuals who could be an interlocutor. Once the government receives the letter, then we will communicate it to the Government of India (GOI) and, after discussion with GOI, will initiate all the required processes, the CM said.

“This is a welcome move; we all want peace in the long run. Therefore, this entire communication is in a positive direction,” said Sangma.

The chief minister added that there was a long discussion on the list of names, which they can’t disclose at the moment. He said the process of lifting the ban on HNLC is also to be taken up with the GoI.

Asked what if the HNLC suggests the preferred names for an interlocutor, Sangma responded that they have made a panel of names and will not propose those names but will propose only after the official letter comes in from the group.

“We are confident with the list of names of people which we have come up with,” he added.

Meghalaya’s banned militant outfit HNLC ready for peace talks sans conditions

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