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Alliance 'is de facto liberal unionist party'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Belfast to discuss the peace process today - ironic given that this week sectarian divisions came to the fore over the decision not to fly the union jack at Belfast City Hall 365 days a year.

Ruth Dudley Edwards, the biographer of the loyalist community, and Newton Emerson, a columnist with the Irish Times, discussed how far has the peace process come and how long it will take to achieve community harmony in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Dudley Edwards told Today presenter Evan Davis that hard-line loyalists "too thick to realise they've won this battle about sovereignty" in Northern Ireland.

"There is no chance of a united Ireland in the foreseeable future at all," she added.

Northern Ireland's Alliance party are starting to become the "de facto liberal unionist party with a cross-community element," Emerson explained.

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