02/12/2003

DUP have 'positive' discussions with Secretary of State

DUP leader, Dr Ian Paisley has described his meeting with Secretary of State, Paul Murphy at Stormont on Monday as "positive".

It was the first time the two men had met since the DUP's success in last week's Assembly elections.

Speaking after meeting, Dr Paisley said: “We have had a positive discussion with the Secretary of State and believe we have made some progress.

"We want to be sure that no limitations will be imposed that would impede us from dealing with the many important issues that need to be addressed. The people we represent have voted for constructive change. We are committed to work for the implementation of our electoral pledges."

The North Antrim MP also confirmed that his party hoped to meet Prime Minister, Tony Blair in the not to distant future to ensure that "he understands our position and respects the positive agenda we are pursuing".

The meeting follows last week's elections which saw the DUP become the largest party in the Northern Ireland assembly.

While the government again reaffirmed the Good Friday Agreement as "the only viable political framework that is capable of securing the support of both communities in Northern Ireland", Dr Paisley's party continues to state it will not sit down with Sinn Féin and that the Agreement must be replaced with something that is "inclusive to both unionists and nationalists".

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams is set to meet with the SDLP leader Mark Durkan in Stormont on Tuesday.

It will be the first time the two nationalist party leaders have met since last week's election results.

(MB)

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