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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Reaction to Saint Andrews talks
Political figures have been giving their reaction to the news that a target date of 26 March 2007 has been set to get a new executive up and running in Northern Ireland.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER

Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair said he believed a way forward had been found
I think we have a way forward. We have been through different parts of this process many times over the past few years, but I think this is a sound basis.

Of course, everyone has had to make compromises during the course of these negotiations to get what they wanted, but nonetheless I think it is a proper and sound basis for doing it.

It gives us a chance to have institutions that are up and running, that are secure on a cross community basis where all parties are in government working together for a shared future in Northern Ireland.

BERTIE AHERN, IRISH PRIME MINISTER

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern said a fair balance had been reached

I believe we have all the elements that can bring satisfaction to all the issues.

If not perfect by everybody's agenda, it's a fair and sustainable balance to try by March to make sure we have a working executive based on power-sharing and an acceptance of policing and the rule of law and order.

IAN PAISLEY, DUP LEADER

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley said Sinn Fein must support the PSNI
Unionists can have confidence that its interests are being advanced and democracy is finally winning the day.

As we have been saying, it is deeds, not deadlines that count

There must be unequivocal support for the laws of the land and those who enforce them.

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN LEADER

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams said the parties had a moral responsibility to reach a deal

I would ask (republicans) to get the documentation, to study it and debate it out.

Make their views known and be part of the effort to resolve these matters. Sometimes there's a lot of talk about delivery. Republicans have delivered big time in recent times.

We have a moral responsibility to keep delivering, but it's a collective responsibility.

SIR REG EMPEY, ULSTER UNIONIST LEADER

Sir Reg Empey
Sir Reg Empey said both parties had shifted their positions

There appears to have been shifts from both parties.

Sinn Fein will sign up to the PSNI being the only force of law and order and Ian Paisley or a colleague will share the joint office of first and deputy first minister with Martin McGuinness in a mandatory coalition.

This, I submit, is the Belfast Agreement for slow learners.

We have a lot of work to do in the assembly and we will go to that next week with enthusiasm to see the job finished.

MARK DURKAN, SDLP LEADER

Mark Durkan
Mark Durkan said politics in Northern Ireland could move forward

We believe that we can move from the politics of stand-off to lift-off.

It is on the basis of that approach that we need to work in the weeks ahead.

The progress we have had it is welcome. I welcome the DUP to the threshold of accepting power-sharing, I welcome Sinn Fein to the threshold of accepting the new beginning to policing.

We can move our politics from about the standards we raise on our flagpoles to being about the standards we raise in our schools, our hospitals and our public services.

DAVID FORD, ALLIANCE LEADER

David Ford
David Ford said a major step forward had been taken

If we use these opportunities, today will prove to have been a major step forward on the road to restoring the institutions.

We now face not a leap into the unknown, but a series of steps. We will play our part in the Preparation for Government Committee and elsewhere to widen the sense of agreement.

Despite all that remains to be done, there is now at least a sense of hope for a shared future.




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