13/07/2001

POLITICAL TALKS RESUME AT WESTON PARK

THE British and Irish prime ministers have returned to Weston Park in Shropshire for further talks aimed at saving the Good Friday Agreement.

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern met Northern Ireland's main pro-Agreement parties, but were unable to meet the two loyalist parties, the Progressive Unionist Party and Ulster Democratic Party, who rejected invitations to attend.

A Downing Street spokesman said the talks were the last chance for the two governments to engage with the parties before the end of the summer. Friday could also become the last day for the current talks as Bertie Ahern flies of to South America over the weekend on business.

The spokesman also revealed that the three days of discussions earlier in the week had produced "steady and serious engagement" by all the parties in the attempt to break the political deadlock.

The current political crisis process was brought about by the resignation of David Trimble as the Northern Ireland first minister on 1 July. He has refused to sit in government with republicans until the IRA begins to decommission its weapons.

Mr Trimble and the rest of his talk’s team were flown over to England on a specially chartered jet after they had returned to Northern Ireland for the 12 July holiday period. (AMcE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

25 August 2004
Parties want process to succeed, says Murphy
Northern Ireland's political parties know what has to be done to end direct rule and restore the devolved institutions, Secretary of State Paul Murphy has said today.
27 January 2006
Political parties to meet with US envoy
The US special envoy for Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, is to today begin talks with political parties on possible ways to restore devolution.
03 February 2003
Murphy urges 'participation' in devolution talks
Secretary of State Paul Murphy has called for "participation" at the talk's table from all political parties after meeting today with the US President's special advisor on Northern Ireland, Richard Haass.
21 September 2015
Parties Urged To 'Not Let Opportunity Slip Away'
Northern Ireland's five main political parties have been urged to engage in new talks, aimed at breaking the deadlock. Speaking ahead of talks, due to start today, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, said: "These talks are crucial for Northern Ireland.
06 February 2006
Devolution talks start in Hillsborough
Secretary of State, Peter Hain and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern are today hosting talks at Hillsborough Castle, involving members of the main political parties in Northern Ireland.