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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 10:34 GMT
Signs of movement in NI process
Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley's DUP said more work needed to be done
There are indications of movement in the Northern Ireland political process with the DUP issuing a cautious response to the St Andrews Agreement.

The move follows Sinn Fein's qualified support on Monday to the proposals to restore devolution.

At the meeting of the DUP's ruling executive in Castlereagh, a resolution was passed neither backing nor rejecting the agreement.

The agreement requires the parties to respond to the document by 10 November.

The DUP blamed its unwillingness to commit to power-sharing on Sinn Fein's refusal to back the police.

The resolution said the party would "continue with the work in progress to ensure upfront delivery by the government and republicans".

In a statement on Thursday, the party said a refusal by Sinn Fein to even begin to give support to the PSNI, the courts and the rule of law, had "clear adverse implications for the timetable laid out in the St Andrews Agreement".

Decisive

The DUP said: "As Sinn Fein is not yet ready to take the decisive step forward on policing, the DUP will not be required to commit to any aspect of power sharing in advance..."

It said it recognised that other aspects of the British and Irish governments' proposals for achieving devolution "required more work".

"The party will continue with the work in progress to ensure upfront delivery by government and republicans," the DUP said.

"The party officers will pursue all the remaining issues and report back before the central executive committee, which is the only body that can take a binding decision, considers the matter."

Qualified

The statement fell short of an outright endorsement of the two prime ministers' plan for reviving power sharing.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said the DUP statement was "a fudge, and is confirmation that they botched the negotiations in Scotland".

"Nowhere in the St Andrews agreement is their any requirement for Sinn Fein to sign up to policing before 24th November," he said.

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams said more work must be done on policing

On Monday, Sinn Fein gave its qualified support to the St Andrews road map.

However, in a speech to a Friends of Sinn Fein dinner in New York on Thursday, Gerry Adams told Irish-American supporters there was still more work to be done.

"We are determined to ensure that all elements in policing are accountable," Mr Adams said.

"That is the focus of our negotiations with the British government at this time.

"I have made clear that when the British government and the DUP conclude with us in a satisfactory way on the outstanding policing issues, I will go to the Sinn Fein ard chomhairle (national executive) and seek a special ard fheis (party conference)."

The British and Irish prime ministers have set 26 March as the deadline for the return of a power sharing government at Stormont.

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

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.


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