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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Trimble welcomes PM's peace pledge
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern at Hillsborough talks
Mr Blair met Irish PM Bertie Ahern in County Down
A pledge by Prime Minister Tony Blair to rebuild confidence in the Northern Ireland peace process has been welcomed by the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble.

Tony Blair made the promise after talks with the pro-Agreement parties and Irish premier Bertie Ahern at Hillsborough Castle, County Down, on Thursday.

David Trimble said he was pleased that action was going to be taken, but said he would wait and see exactly what it was, before making up his mind what to do about staying in government with Sinn Fein.

It is not clear exactly what Mr Blair intends to do, to show that the government is taking a tougher line on paramilitaries.

However, he said he would put forward proposals to the parties before parliament goes into recess on 24 July.

David Trimble: UUP leader
David Trimble: May still withdraw from executive

Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan said the continuing instability was not helpful.

Mr Trimble requested Thursday's talks amid concerns over ongoing sectarian conflict in Belfast and allegations of continuing IRA activity at home and abroad.

Unionists say it is eroding support for the Good Friday Agreement among their supporters.

In transition

Speaking after the talks, the UUP leader said there had to be clearer consequences for paramilitaries who crossed the "red line", or there would be a "very serious problem indeed".

Mr Blair said it was important to recognise the peace process was a transition but the process must be kept moving.

The prime minister said all of the parties he had spoken to agreed to do everything they could to resolve the situation.

And he insisted Sinn Fein was serious about making the peace process work.

Bertie Ahern described the talks session as "good".

Sinn Fein maintains the allegations about the IRA are unproven and that the violence on the streets in recent weeks has been provoked by loyalists not republicans.

Party leader Gerry Adams insisted sanctions could not be taken against Sinn Fein under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

After the meeting, David Trimble briefed members of his party at a nearby hotel.

Speaking afterwards, MP Jeffrey Donaldson said his party leader had still not ruled out resigning as first minister if action was not taken against Sinn Fein.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Mark Simpson:
"What the prime minister intends to do will be announced at Westminster within the next 20 days"
The UUP's Reg Empey:
"The institutions can't be here at any price"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

05 Jul 02 | N Ireland
14 Jun 02 | N Ireland
14 Jun 02 | N Ireland
13 Jun 02 | N Ireland
30 Nov 01 | UK Politics
15 Jun 02 | N Ireland
04 Jul 02 | N Ireland
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