Mitchell to stress need for talks


SENATOR George Mitchell will tell the British and Irish govern meats in the next few days that "there has to be a prompt agreement on beginning serious, all party negotiations to reach a political settlement" on the North.

However, Mr Mitchell, who, travelled to London yesterday, "is not acting as an envoy of the White House", a US administrations' spokesman said yesterday.

The spokesman was responding to a New York Times report headlined "US Mediator on Northern Ireland will try again". Mr Mitchell told the newspaper he would be presenting the administration's views to the two governments.

The White House said yesterday: "Senator Mitchell is travelling to London on a long planned trip which has to do with his chairmanship of the International Crisis Group which is meeting to decide the civil implementation in Bosnia of the Dayton Accords.

"He may be meeting with the Taoiseach and Prime Minister Major when he will discuss the International Crisis Group's work and very likely issues involving Northern Ireland. He is not an envoy of the White House."

Mr Mitchell told the New York Times: "All the parties agree on the need for such negotiations. The disagreement is how best to get there. That's a big obstacle."