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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 16:08 GMT
Parties meet Hain over agreement
Peter Hain
Peter Hain is meeting with three NI parties
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has held talks on the St Andrew's Agreement with the Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Alliance.

The parties were pressing him on their concerns and seeking clarification.

Meanwhile, DUP leader Ian Paisley has said Sinn Fein's decision to give qualified support for the proposals was a step backwards.

He accused republicans of trying to "unhook" themselves from support for policing by raising pre-conditions.

Mr Paisley said decision day had now arrived for Sinn Fein, adding that the DUP would be maintaining its position.

He said there must be "delivery of support for the police immediately" before the political process can move forward.

The DUP and the other parties have until Friday to make up their minds about the St Andrews proposals.

The Ulster Unionist Party has concerns that key aspects to the deal have not been nailed down.

The SDLP was expected to tell Mr Hain that some of the proposed changes to the rules of power-sharing ministers are dangerous.

The party fears ministers will not be able to make decisions in an emergency situation.

Alliance has concerns about mandatory coalition and victims rights.

However, it is the DUP's stance which is likely to be critical.

It is expected to give a signal to go forward with the St Andrew's Agreement, also subject to further negotiations.




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