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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 13:26 GMT
'No saleable deal' says Trimble
Tony Blair held talks with Bertie Ahern in London
The British and Irish Governments still do not have a deal to put to the parties to move the Northern Ireland political process forward, the Ulster Unionist Party leader has said.

Speaking after talks with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in London on Thursday, David Trimble said Mr Ahern had told him there was no "saleable deal" on the table.

Mr Trimble said the level of trust amongst unionists was so low that this time "republicans must jump first".

Mr Ahern also met the British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday for talks as attempts continue to find a breakthrough in the deadlocked political process.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble
The taoiseach thought that we are looking at a period of about five or six weeks before other things crowd us off the agenda

David Trimble
UUP leader

Northern Ireland's devolved institutions were suspended on 14 October 2002 following a row over allegations of IRA activity, including alleged spying within the Northern Ireland Office.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Ahern said there were still difficulties ahead in the peace process.

However, he added both governments were "full of determination to complete the outstanding issues".

He said: "What we want to do from today, and we have charted out a work programme for the next few weeks for ourselves, is to intensify our efforts, to pick up from the difficulties that we had late last year, to try and now find a way of getting full implementation of the Agreement."

Fifth anniversary

He said the governments wanted to go back to the joint statement they made in mid-October and move to acts of completion on all aspects.

"Clearly, there are a number of difficult issues, many outstanding issues.

What was encouraging was that everybody involved in this process is absolutely convinced that we need to address those main issues

Paul Murphy
Secretary of state

"Our efforts will be from today, to immediately, between the governments and with the parties at a round table meeting in a few days time, to see if we can chart out a constructive and a final way to the full implementation of the Agreement as we head to this fifth anniversary of it."

Secretary of State Paul Murphy said the meeting had been constructive and useful.

He said there would be a further round-table talks in Belfast next Thursday.

"The meeting today certainly meant that we were upping gear... in terms of discussions and negotiations," he said.

"We are all very conscious that we need to address the issues during the course of the next few weeks.

"What was encouraging was that everybody involved in this process is absolutely convinced that we need to address those main issues."

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said he hoped the meeting would see the creation of an implementation plan for the Agreement by the two governments.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the agenda for round-table talks at Stormont should be the delivery of the complete implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Quentin Davies said: "I desperately hope that the discussions currently taking place will indeed lead to a settlement in Northern Ireland."

Expectations

Speaking later on Thursday, David Trimble said the onus was on republicans "to sort out the mess they've created once and for all".

Addressing party members in Bangor, County Down, he said: "It's clear the message hasn't penetrated through to the republican leadership.

"Republicans stand in the dock and, having destroyed the trust of others, it is up to them to take steps to fix the problem. And that means action not rhetoric."

I am hoping we will see more intensive discussions between all of the parties to try and break the deadlocke

Martin McGuinness
Sinn Fein MP

Republicans had built up expectations of what might be achieved in private by billing the prime ministers' meeting as potentially the most significant in 20 years.

A reduction in the Army presence, an end to IRA activity, progress on policing and the return of on-the-run paramilitaries were all discussed.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness said local parties also needed to do "some serious talking" if progress was to be made.

"I am hoping that, on the other side of today's meeting in Downing Street, we will see more intensive discussions between all of the parties on a bilateral and possibly a trilateral basis to try and break the deadlock," he said.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  BBC NI's political editor Mark Devenport:
"Republicans have built up expectations by billing the meeting the most significant in 20 years"
  Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness:
"I hope we will see more intensive discussions to break the deadlock"

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22 Jan 03 | N Ireland
21 Jan 03 | N Ireland
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