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Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid MP
Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid MP
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: DR JOHN REID MP NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY JULY 1ST, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: And let's now be joined by the Northern Ireland Secretary, Dr John Reid, he also is in the Somme in Northern France today commemorating the great war efforts and he joins us from there. John, good morning.

JOHN REID: Good morning, David.

DAVID FROST: We've just heard from Seamus Mallon that the resignation of David Trimble is not that big a deal and from Jeffrey Donaldson, that it is that big a deal. Where do you stand?

JOHN REID: Well I regret very much David Trimble's resignation. And I regret and understand the circumstances which have caused it and if anywhere on earth was to illustrate to us the need to solve our problems not by violence and the awful and tragic consequences of failure to solve problems through dialogue, it's surely here in the Somme. I hope that we can change the circumstances so that David Trimble can one day be back at the helm.

DAVID FROST: And you think the new deadline, the six-week deadline to the middle of August can be met in terms of there being, Seamus Mallon seemed optimistic there might be the sort of, sort of progress that he might come back with?

JOHN REID: Well, I mean with the deadline after deadline as you know in Northern Ireland, what we have to do is to redouble our commitment to do that. Now we know the issues, all the parties say they're committed to resolving them. They have to be resolved and that includes the questions of putting para-military weapons beyond use. And, as I say, the people of Northern Ireland have supported and deserve the outcome of a peace process. They want to see it all implemented, so over the next week or two we've got to get there and we've got to deliver what those people want. Because they consequences of not doing so are too awful. And the prize of doing so is so huge that I believe that if all the parties work to the commitments they have expressed, this whole process can move forward and the whole agreement can be implemented.

DAVID FROST: Thank you very much, indeed, John. One last thought, just one last thought, can, as we've been hearing, can business sort of carry on as usual for the next six weeks?

JOHN REID: Well, of course it's always difficult during the marching season, particularly when we've got these political challenges to overcome but we're dealing with a problem which has been decades, and centuries, in the brewing. It is an immense challenge but I honestly believe that we can make progress and as I said, that's what the people in Northern Ireland want, it is what the parties say they are committed to, so let's get down to it. They're committed to it, and we know the problems, and they say they will do their best to solve those problems, there's no excuse for not doing it.

DAVID FROST: Thank you very much indeed, John, for joining us this morning. Many, many thanks.

END

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