Trimble denies plan to snub governments
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader Mr David Trimble has vigorously denied a newspaper report saying he would only briefly present his party's position to the Irish and British governments at a meeting next week and then leave immediately.
The report in Belfast's Newslettertoday and the denial came as Mr Trimble prepared to meet the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, at a North-South Ministerial Council meeting in Co Armagh.
However, Mr Trimble claimed that he was "amazed" at the report. "I have taken no such decision," the North's First Minister said.
"Indeed such conduct would run counter to my approach from the moment I became leader of the Ulster Unionist party."
Mr Trimble continued: "I am amazed that the Newsletterdid not speak to me, nor am I aware of any attempt to contact any member of my staff. It is noteworthy that the Newsletterdoes not identify any source for its story."
Another Belfast newspaper, the Irish Newssaid today that Mr Trimble will tonight face a loyalist picket outside his home. The website of the Grand Protestant Committee, which is linked to the Orange Volunteers, urged "any true loyalist" to attend the protest at the "traitor’s house" in Co Down.