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09/03/2017

NI Parties Willing To Engage In Constructive Discussions - Flanagan

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said he was encouraged by the willingness of all parties to engage in constructive discussions to form a new power-sharing Executive.

He made the announcement in Belfast after talks continued at Stormont on Wednesday, 08 March.

Mr Flanagan said: "In these discussions, I was encouraged by the willingness of all sides to engage on the key issues. At the same time, I am very conscious of the complexity of the issues that must be resolved and of the limited timeframe available.

"All sides, including the two governments and the parties, will have to extend themselves if we are to achieve the collective objectives of re-establishing the power-sharing institutions of the Good Friday Agreement."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also said the negotiations must deliver a return to power sharing.
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Mr Eastwood said: "Government based on degrading and denigrating others, whether they're from other parties or other communities, must now be at an end. I want to be clear with unionists that the SDLP is not out to destroy your culture, we are not out to marginalise or mistreat you or your community. It is now time to secure a positive accommodation between nationalism and unionism that allows us to meet the challenges that we all face. 

"And key among those challenges is the threat of Brexit to Northern Ireland. In a few days, Theresa May will trigger Article 50 beginning the biggest constitutional upheaval on these islands since partition. We need a government to deal with that. We need a government to defend the will of our people. We need a government to prepare for the most complicated set of negotiations ever entered in to on this continent."

(CD)


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