NEW DELHI, Feb 24 � Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday disclosed that four years ago he had almost succeeded in engaging ULFA in peace talks but the outfit backed out.
The Prime Minister while replying to the discussion on President�s address in the Parliament, referred to the ULFA peace process, welcoming it yet again.
The Prime Minister without taking names referred to the peace process started with ULFA through Peoples� Consultative Group (PCG) in 2005. The Centre�s negotiations with PCG broke down after three rounds of negotiations following complications over discussion on the core issue.
�I have been trying to reach out to ULFA right from the year 2005. At one time I did succeed, but they later backed out,� the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister�s disclosure is the latest addition to the ongoing debate over PCG�s role during those tumultuous days. The PCG was recently disbanded by the general council of ULFA, which recently met under the chairmanship of Arabinda Rajkhowa. This had led to exchange of words between some members of PCG and ULFA pro-talk group.
�I am very happy that they have now accepted our invitation to discuss and to have a dialogue. They have given up the path of violence. That is very positive development. We should encourage both sides to work out arrangements, which would lead to satisfactory outcomes of these discussions,� the Prime Minister, said.
Referring to the North-East, the Prime Minister said the situation in Manipur and some parts of Assam has been a cause of concern. But the overall the situation has improved. More recently, the leadership of the main insurgent group, ULFA has thought it fit to give up the path of pursuit of violence and to enter into discussion and dialogue with the government,� the Prime Minister to thumping of desks by Members in Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Rajnath Singh sought a response from the Prime Minister about Chinese growing interest in Arunachal Pradesh. He referred to the cases of Chinese intrusions.
Earlier, the Prime Minister referring to foreign policy initiative said Government�s policy has been to be as friendly as possible with its neighbours.