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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 18:06 GMT
Republicans must 'fix' process
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble
David Trimble said unionist trust in process was low
The onus is on republicans to take steps to resolve the current impasse in the Northern Ireland political process the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, has said.

Mr Trimble said acts of completion, and not "acts of beginning", were required from the republican movement before progress could be made.

He added that elections to the Stormont Assembly in May could make the political situation worse unless the parties agreed a deal.

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.

We want to intensify our efforts to try and now find a way of getting full implementation of the Agreement

Bertie Ahern
Taoiseach

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster on Friday Mr Trimble said: "There is great concern about what the consequences will be of an election if nothing is sorted out.

"If we had an election in that context we could find things even worse afterwards.

"I think we have got to see whether it is possible if we can sort things out, that is the preferred option, but it cannot be sorted out unless the republicans do what they should have done years ago."

His comments follow a meeting between the British and Irish Governments on Thursday in London.

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern met at Downing Street for talks as attempts continue to find a breakthrough in the deadlocked political process.

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".

Bertie Ahern Irish Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern: "Full of determination"

"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," he said.

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.

However, Mr Trimble said the two governments did not have a deal to put to the parties to move the political process forward.

Speaking after talks with Mr Ahern in London on Thursday, the UUP leader said the taoiseach 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".

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy said Thursday's meeting between Mr Blair and Mr Ahern had been constructive and useful.

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

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."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
UUP leader David Trimble:
"An election before things are sorted out could make matters even worse"
BBC NI's Dublin correspondent Shane Harrison:
"The taoiseach said no party could get all its own way"

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