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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Sinn Fein warns on deal deadline
Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness said the November deadline must stand
Sinn Fein has warned the government not to extend the deadline for a deal to restore devolution in Northern Ireland beyond 24 November.

The DUP deputy leader, Peter Robinson, said last week that his party regarded the date "as arbitrary".

Martin McGuinness, however, said on the BBC's Inside Politics that the governments must not wait for the DUP.

"If they're ready to do a deal by the spring of next year, then they can come on board," he said.

The governments must press on with the new partnership arrangements they say they are prepared to put in place immediately after the DUP, as it appears, refuse to do the deal.
Martin Guinness

"But that must not, under any circumstances, in any way, affect the plans of the British prime minister and the taoiseach to call a halt to all of this on 24 November.

"They must press on with the new partnership arrangements that they say they are prepared to put in place immediately after the DUP, as it appears, refuse to do the deal."

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October 2002.

A bid to elect a first minister and deputy first minister failed to gain the necessary cross-party support.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a republican spy ring. The court case that followed collapsed.

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and has been in place since.




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