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Sunday, 10 June, 2001, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Blair and Ahern to hold talks
blair and ahern
Tony Blair will hold peace talks with Bertie Ahern this week
Prime Minister Tony Blair is to hold talks about the Northern Ireland peace process with the Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern this week.

The two leaders will meet during a European summit in Gothenburg in Sweden to discuss the general election results in the province.

Significant gains by the anti-Agreement Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein's emergence as the main voice of nationalism, have put increased pressure on the peace process.

The talks were arranged during a telephone conversation between the two leaders on Sunday.


This is a clear message to Tony Blair - start listenting to the majortiy of unionists in Northern Ireland

Nigel Dodds MP

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid has already urged politicians in the province to step up efforts to cement the peace process.

Discussions on the deep disagreement between the parties on the issues of paramilitary decommissioning, policing and demilitarisation were suspended during the election campaign.

Dr Reid will contact all of the main parties this week to arrange fresh political talks.

The DUP, which has not been party to the talks, wants Sinn Fein to be removed from the assembly executive if the IRA does not hand over its weapons.

'Clear message'

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it was time the prime minister listened to the majority of unionists who had spoken out against the Good Friday Agreement.

"I think this is a clear message to Tony Blair. You have said to people England, Scotland and Wales that you are listenting to people.

"Start listenting to the majority of unionists in Northern Ireland," he said.

"They don't want to see the RUC destroyed, they don't want gunmen, they want accountable democracy."

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who won a huge majority in West Belfast, said both leaders faced a challenging time ahead.

"Mr Blair and the Taoiseach have a challenge in terms of the policing issue, in terms of demilitarisation and in terms of unlocking the door so that other issues like weapons and so on can be resolved."

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31 Jul 00 |  UK Politics
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17 Jun 00 |  Northern Ireland
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