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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Hain 'optimistic over resolution'
Peter Hain
Mr Hain was speaking at the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body
The secretary of state has said he remains cautiously optimistic that problems surrounding the St Andrews Agreement can be resolved.

Speaking in Belfast, Peter Hain said he was not worried about the current NI political situation.

He said the row over the DUP insistence that Sinn Fein pledge support for the PSNI before electing first and deputy first ministers was a glitch.

SF is debating whether to back the PSNI but "is not ready to vote on it".

Mr Hain said anyone who wanted to turn a glitch into a crisis had the ability to make that happen, but he did not believe it would happen.

The DUP wants a pledge of support for policing in place before DUP leader Ian Paisley and SF's Martin McGuinness can become shadow first and deputy first minister.

There is balanced and sustainable regional development right across the island
Pat Carey
British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body

The St Andrews Agreement stated that before the government legislated on the pledge of office, "it will consider the outcome of further Preparation for Government Committee discussions on policing and the rule of law".

The Northern Ireland parties have been given until 10 November to respond to what the governments are calling the St Andrews Agreement.

It was published after intensive three-day talks between the parties at St Andrews in Scotland.

'Benefit greatly'

If all goes to plan, a first and deputy first minister will be nominated on 24 November and the devolved institutions will be up and running by 26 March.

Mr Hain was speaking at a plenary conference of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body.

Politicians from across the UK and Ireland are meeting colleagues from the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands for the conference at the Waterfront Hall.

Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams
A meeting between the party leaders was postponed

Joint chairman Pat Carey said the Republic of Ireland was ready to fund a package for Northern Ireland's infrastructure as part of a potential devolution deal.

"The north will benefit, but the south will benefit greatly," he said

"The north-south economic corridor has been very important, but equally is the western corridor from Donegal, down through Cavan-Monaghan, Fermanagh, Galway, Sligo and right down into Clare.

"There is balanced and sustainable regional development right across the island."




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