New Delhi, Jun 16: The formal peace talks between the government and ULFA will begin by the end of this month, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi announced today.
After a meeting with Home Minister P Chidambaram, Gogoi said informal discussions with ULFA, led by its ‘chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa, was going on “positively” and both sides will soon announce Suspension of Operations (SOO) in Assam.
“After the announcement, the formal talks with ULFA will begin. We hope that the talks will begin this month-end itself,” he told reporters.
Home Ministry sources said an agreement on SOO will be signed between the government and the ULFA later this month.
Asked about the response of the elusive ‘commander-in-chief' of ULFA Paresh Baruah, Gogoi said the government would welcome Baruah if he joins the peace talks.
“But we would not wait for him for indefinite period,” he said.
Gogoi, who was elected as Chief Minister for the third consecutive term, said his meeting with Chidambaram was very fruitful and the Home Minister assured him all support in the efforts to bring peace in Assam.
An eight member delegation of ULFA leaders, led by its ‘chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa, in February had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai and began the process of dialogue, after three decades of insurgency.
Although Rajkhowa and several top leaders of the outfit favoured a negotiated settlement, Paresh Barua is yet to respond to the peace process. PTI