Armstrong challenges Secretary of State to convene all-party talks as soon as possible

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has challenged the Secretary of State to help break the political deadlock here by initiating all-party talks as soon as possible

Ms Armstrong said recent speculation around the resumption of talks following Easter and the recent Good Friday Agreement anniversary had only been followed up with segregated talks with individual parties with no attempt to engage cross-party negotiation, risking the process stagnating even further.

“During the recent Good Friday Agreement anniversary, the Secretary of State discussed how the UK Government was fully committed to the restoration of devolution at the earliest possible opportunity and would do whatever they could to achieve that. If that is the case, why have we still yet to see the resumption of all-party talks or indeed even a date set for them?” she said.

“Alliance has been consistent in our views, which were contained in our recent document Next Steps Forward. They include reconstituting Assembly committees, reconvening the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, re-establishing the Policing Board and progressing legislation which was at an advanced stage before the collapse of power-sharing, all alongside a talks process.

“Bilateral meetings with other parties and the two Governments are all well and good but the Secretary of State needs to convene all-party talks as soon as possible, appoint an independent mediator and use the ideas contained in Next Steps Forward to get this process moved on and allow us to tackle the social, political and economic problems facing us.”

Alliance’s Next Steps Forward document is available here.
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