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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 March 2008, 09:14 GMT
Paisley has not shaken DFM's hand
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness
Ian Paisley said handshakes were not important
First Minister Ian Paisley has said he has never shaken hands with Martin McGuinness.

Mr Paisley, who last week declared he would leave office, said he has a strong working relationship with the Sinn Fein deputy first minister.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show he said whether he had shaken hands with the DFM was not important.

"I made it clear to him that handshaking was a bit of a farce in this country," Mr Paisley said.

"I have seen all the leaders shaking hands and then going out to drive a bayonet into the back of the person they have been shaking hands with - I don't believe in that.

"I believe we should just be honest about the matter and he knows that and that's not an issue that we are worried about.

"He knows I'll not be shaking hands with him and that's it."

Last Tuesday, the first minister, 81, said he would stand down from the post in May and resign as leader of the DUP, a party he has led for almost 40 years.

He will continue as MP and MLA for North Antrim.

Peter Robinson, the party's deputy leader, is expected to take his place.

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