Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 16:41 UK

Assembly issues 'can be resolved'

The executive has not met since June

Issues which have prevented the Northern Ireland Executive meeting since June can be resolved, the first and deputy first ministers have said.

Both Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness have said they wanted to overcome the current difficulties.

Earlier, Mr Robinson had said he would be happy for an executive meeting scheduled for Thursday to take place.

However, Mr McGuinness said it was still "highly unlikely" it would happen.

"This isn't something we are going to fall out about, he said.

"I don't believe we are people who are gong to give up on the process. We are going to continue to work to find a way through.

"I don't think that there is anything in either of us which is about to give up on these issues, they are difficult."

Mr Robinson said neither parties would give up on the outstanding issues, which include the devolution of policing and justice powers to the executive.

"The only way of resolving them is through dialogue, discussion and negotiation," he said.

"Because this is a four party coalition, we want to have the thoughts and views of the other parties."

Both men appeared together at an assembly committee meeting on Wednesday.

Earlier, Mr Robinson said he would have been happy to have an executive meeting with an open agenda.

However, a Sinn Féin source told the BBC that the offer was "not practical" and "what was needed was agreement between the first and deputy first minister on what papers should go forward".

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