Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma | file photo

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government welcomed the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC)’s offer for unconditional peace talks as it assured to appoint an interlocutor once an official communication from the outfit is received.

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Addressing media persons after chairing a meeting, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said, “In the interest of peace, we would like to move in this direction and based on that the government of Meghalaya has already started going through different names for (appointment of an) interlocutor (to start facilitating the peace process with the HNLC).”

“We welcome the step that has been taken (by the HNLC) and we are now awaiting a formal written letter from their side expressing the same that they have mentioned in the press release because as a government, we will have to get an official communication,” he added.

On February 8, the HNLC had expressed that it is ready for peace dialogue without any preconditions and requested the government to speed up the appointment of an interlocutor.

“As of now we are ready to talk within the ambit of the Indian Constitution and we are ready to have talks without any preconditions. This is for the general information that the Standstill Agreement (SA) and Instrument of Accession (IOA) shall not be included. If the Government of India (GOI) is willing then we are ready to go for a dialogue,” HNLC general secretary-cum-publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw had said in a statement on February 8.

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Sangma said that the government has already zeroed down a few names for appointment as interlocutors.

“Once official communication is received (from the outfit) we will finalize the name of the interlocutor,” he said, adding that the interlocutor should be someone who has enough experience and necessary quality to negotiate well and who understands the subject well.

The chief minister further informed that the state government would also communicate to the Centre on the matter.

“After discussion with the Government of India we will initiate all the required processes. This is a welcome move (by the outfit), we all are wanting peace to be there in the long run. Therefore, this entire communication is in a positive direction,” he said.

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