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PM refuses to commit time-frame for solution

By Spl CORRESPONDENT

NEW DELHI, Feb 16 � Assertion by ULFA notwithstanding, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday refused to commit a time-frame for resolution of their vexed problems, though he mentioned that Government of India is serious about an honourable solution.

Interacting with editors of TV channels, the Prime Minister responding to a question over fixing of a time-limit said, �I think the process has just started. It would give me the greatest happiness, if we could say that we could complete it immediately.�

�But I know we are dealing with a difficult problem. It is an essay in mutual comprehension. We have just started talking to ULFA,� Dr Singh reminded.

�It would be wrong on my part to say that right now I can fix the time limit that would be our effort,� he added.

�The ULFA leaders came and called on me. I am very happy with what they told me and I assured them that Government of India is absolutely serious to find an honourable solution to all these issues,� the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister was asked whether Government of India would like to fix any time-frame to complete the peace process with the ULFA given the fact that the dialogue with NSCN (I-M) has been continuing for nearly 14 years.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister observed that the situation in North-east is getting normalised. In Assam, talks are going to begin with ULFA, he said in his opening remarks.

�That the ULFA leadership having decided to give up the path of violence is a welcome development, which would have far reaching consequences for the growth process in our North Eastern States,� the Prime Minister said.

The group of pro-talk ULFA leaders led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa on Tuesday returned to Assam after meeting the Prime Minister on Monday evening, concluding their five-day-long tour of the capital. A four-member delegation of ULFA met the Prime Minister in presence of National Security Adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon and interlocutor P C Haldar.

The chairman had described the talks with the Prime Minister as satisfactory and appreciated Dr Singh.

The ULFA chairman has said that they are looking for a just, honourable and acceptable solution of their demands. Though the outfit has not yet submitted their list of demands, Rajkhowa has stressed on the need to amend the Constitution of India to safeguard the identity of the indigenous people.

The ULFA leaders have also called for resolution of their problems within a specific time schedule.

Last week on February 10 they sat with Union Home Secretary G K Pillai and held the first round of formal dialogue being described as introductory talks. A seven-member coordination group was constituted with representatives from ULFA, Government of India and Assam to take the process forward.

The ULFA leaders met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram the same day, which was described as a courtesy call.

Meanwhile, Tarun Gogoi Government has come for praise by the Prime Minister, who complimented it for handling of the ULFA peace process.

�The Government in Assam has done very well and the peace process is another factor, which would strengthen the ruling party in Assam,� Dr Singh remarked.

Asked whether, the Congress would be able to return to power for the third consecutive term in Assam, the Prime Minister said �I hope, I think they will do so�.

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PM refuses to commit time-frame for solution

NEW DELHI, Feb 16 � Assertion by ULFA notwithstanding, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday refused to commit a time-frame for resolution of their vexed problems, though he mentioned that Government of India is serious about an honourable solution.

Interacting with editors of TV channels, the Prime Minister responding to a question over fixing of a time-limit said, �I think the process has just started. It would give me the greatest happiness, if we could say that we could complete it immediately.�

�But I know we are dealing with a difficult problem. It is an essay in mutual comprehension. We have just started talking to ULFA,� Dr Singh reminded.

�It would be wrong on my part to say that right now I can fix the time limit that would be our effort,� he added.

�The ULFA leaders came and called on me. I am very happy with what they told me and I assured them that Government of India is absolutely serious to find an honourable solution to all these issues,� the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister was asked whether Government of India would like to fix any time-frame to complete the peace process with the ULFA given the fact that the dialogue with NSCN (I-M) has been continuing for nearly 14 years.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister observed that the situation in North-east is getting normalised. In Assam, talks are going to begin with ULFA, he said in his opening remarks.

�That the ULFA leadership having decided to give up the path of violence is a welcome development, which would have far reaching consequences for the growth process in our North Eastern States,� the Prime Minister said.

The group of pro-talk ULFA leaders led by chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa on Tuesday returned to Assam after meeting the Prime Minister on Monday evening, concluding their five-day-long tour of the capital. A four-member delegation of ULFA met the Prime Minister in presence of National Security Adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon and interlocutor P C Haldar.

The chairman had described the talks with the Prime Minister as satisfactory and appreciated Dr Singh.

The ULFA chairman has said that they are looking for a just, honourable and acceptable solution of their demands. Though the outfit has not yet submitted their list of demands, Rajkhowa has stressed on the need to amend the Constitution of India to safeguard the identity of the indigenous people.

The ULFA leaders have also called for resolution of their problems within a specific time schedule.

Last week on February 10 they sat with Union Home Secretary G K Pillai and held the first round of formal dialogue being described as introductory talks. A seven-member coordination group was constituted with representatives from ULFA, Government of India and Assam to take the process forward.

The ULFA leaders met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram the same day, which was described as a courtesy call.

Meanwhile, Tarun Gogoi Government has come for praise by the Prime Minister, who complimented it for handling of the ULFA peace process.

�The Government in Assam has done very well and the peace process is another factor, which would strengthen the ruling party in Assam,� Dr Singh remarked.

Asked whether, the Congress would be able to return to power for the third consecutive term in Assam, the Prime Minister said �I hope, I think they will do so�.

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