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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
DUP attitude 'causing confusion'
Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness has accused the DUP of causing confusion
The DUP has caused tremendous confusion over their attitude to a new Stormont committee on preparing for devolved government, Martin McGuinness has said.

The government has given the parties until next Tuesday to decide whether they will attend the committee.

Speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics, the Sinn Fein MP for Mid Ulster said recent comments from the DUP on the committee had not been clear.

He said his party was very keen to hear where the DUP stood on the issue.

"They have big decisions to make and we as much as anybody else are very keen to hear if they are going to move forward with us to bring about the restoration of these institutions," he said.

"At the minute the soundings coming from the DUP are not that encouraging and I think that has caused great confusion."

On Thursday, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain invited all the main parties to take their places on a committee to restore devolution.

The DUP and Sinn Fein have yet to state clearly whether they will join up.

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It is thought the committee would have three members from the four main parties and two from Alliance.

Mr Hain also confirmed that Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern will hold talks with the parties before the summer break.

Speaking in London on Thursday, Mr Hain said he wanted the committee to look at work that needs to be done in preparation for government.

Mr Hain revealed he had asked the assembly's speaker Eileen Bell to convene the first meeting of the committee on 6 June to prepare for the negotiations involving the two prime ministers.

He said participation in this committee will show how willing assembly members are to do the business of government.

Negotiations

On Wednesday, Mr Hain said the committee should not be a negotiating body.

He was replying to DUP leader Ian Paisley's concerns that the committee would be used as a negotiating forum.

Mr Paisley had said his party would not take part in talks running alongside those promised between the parties and the British and Irish governments.

While the DUP has been seeking to limit the role which the committee plays, the SDLP said it would only enter it if it was clear "that it is the vehicle for restoration of the agreement's institutions, not a talking shop or meaningless sideshow".

The DUP continues to refuse to enter direct dialogue with Sinn Fein. However, in the old assembly, DUP members took part in committees alongside republicans.




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