Governments hope to instil momentum into resumed talks


THE British and Irish governments are determined to instil a momentum into the multi party talks when they resume in Belfast next Monday.

This was announced by the Tanaiste, Mr Spring, and the Northern Secretary, Sir Patrick Mayhew, after a two hour informal Anglo Irish Inter Governmental Conference meeting in Dublin yesterday.

Meanwhile, it is understood that both ministers expect a claim will be lodged with the chairman of the talks, Senator George Mitchell, that the loyalist fringe parties have disqualified themselves from the negotiations.

Mr Spring said they still believed that the all party talks offered the best prospect of reaching agreement. They would be seeking a commitment from all the parties at the resumption of the talks that they wanted to engage in the process, despite the difficulties which they openly admitted encountering during the summer.

Asked how the Government would instil momentum into the talks, Mr Spring added that despite the difficulties - and sometimes there needed to be serious difficulties before one looked for options - there was an understanding between the parties that the talks process was the best option.

Sir Patrick said they were going to encourage all the parties to recognise that the negotiating process was the only way forward. A lot of the damage had been done by the events of this summer.

There was resentment, there was fear, there was revived prejudice, he added, but underlying all of that, he believed, there was a strong belief throughout Northern Ireland that talking should be given a chance.

Turning to the DUP demand that the loyalist fringe parties be expelled from the talks, Sir Patrick said there was a procedure to deal with a claim that participants in the talks had disqualified themselves.