ULFA-Centre talks a positive development: Gogoi

Guwahati, Feb 10 (PTI) Assam Chief Minister TarunGogoi today termed as "positive development" the initiation oftalks by the ULFA leadership with the Centre and hoped thatthis will lead to restoration of peace in the state as well asin the entire northeast.

"My yesterday''s meeting with the ULFA leaders was verycordial and they had expressed their desire for an honourablesolution to the vexed problem. We, too, on our side showedfull respect to them and agreed upon for a meaningful solutionto the problem. We also cannot let Assam''s existence to beendangered," Gogoi told reporters here today.

"It is a positive development. It''s heartening thatthe ULFA leadership came forward to take part in the peaceprocess as per the desire of the people of Assam. I hope thiswill lead to restoration of permanent peace in the state andthe entire northeast," he said.

"I hope that (elusive ULFA ''commander-in-chief'')Paresh Baruah and his followers, including (ULFA ''centralexecutive committee'' member) Jiban Moran will also join in thepeace process for the greater interests of the people of theState," he said.

"We expect the ULFA problem will be resolved soon andthe law and order situation in the state has improvedtremendously."

Gogoi also lauded the initiatives taken by HirenGohain and others of Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan (ofintellectuals) in bringing the front ranking leaders of ULFAto the negotiation table.

To queries what were the issues they talked about inyesterday''s meeting, he said, "we had no discussions astheir''s (ULFA leaders) was only a courtesy call".

On him not being present in the meeting in Delhitoday, Gogoi said, "Home Minister P Chidambaram and FinanceMinister Pranab Mukherjee asked me to come. I told them whenthe talks are finalised I will be there. Today''s meeting isonly a courtesy call."

On media reports that the ULFA delegation yesterdayhad to sign in the register and deposit their mobile phonesbefore seeing him at his residence, he clarified, "It is anormal procedure followed by all visitors, dignitaries,including ministers, officials, etc. It does not mean that thegovernment of Assam has shown any disrespect or dishonour tothe top ULFA leaders." PTI ESB DG RG

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