27/02/2003

Premieres discuss plans to restore devolution

The British and Irish prime ministers have met today to discuss the prospects for placing devolved government back on the Northern Ireland political map.

Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair held talks the key problems of policing and paramilitaries, both of which continue to stand in the way the resumption of resumption of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The leaders' summit in London comes just days before the leaders are due to unveil the latest plan designed to bring the pro-agreement parties back into the common fold.

Following the meeting today Mr Ahern remained optimistic that progress had been made on a number of issues. He said that the governments would be working over the weekend in an attempt progress matters by Monday, which he said would be an "important day".

Mr Ahern said that the talks based on a blueprint document already discussed during meetings with British government representative Jonathan Powell last week would expect to last all day on Monday.

Elsewhere, the outspoken Chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, Bill Flynn, who today launched a 10-point plan aimed at breaking the political impasse, criticised UUP leader David Trimble for not standing up for the agreement since receiving his Nobel Peace Prize award.

Unionists rejected those criticisms saying that the onus should be on Sinn Fein which has had close ties to the IRA throughout the political process.

(SP)

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