Exploratory talks at Stormont to discuss options

ALLIANCE Leader David Ford MLA held talks this afternoon with senior members of the SDLP, UUP and DUP to discuss potential ways forward to overcome the current political stalemate. He also met Dr Kieran Deeny MLA.

Mr Ford stated:

“On my initiative, I met leading members of the SDLP, UUP and DUP today, as it is evident that they and Alliance are very concerned at the lack of action by the British and Irish governments to restore devolution. I wanted to consult with the three parties to see what prospects there were for holding further discussions to resolve the current difficulties.

“The representatives of the other parties have agreed to consult their colleagues to see whether it is worth setting up exploratory talks to tease out each other’s ideas and see how much common ground exists.

“Alliance has advocated a voluntary coalition, both as a way of resolving the DUP’s past unwillingness to share power and Sinn Fein’s continuing relationship with those alleged to be behind serious ongoing crime and paramilitary activity. Others have their own ideas, which Alliance is happy to discuss.

“Because of the non-inclusive nature of previous negotiations, Alliance has not had a full opportunity to test our detailed proposals properly with others. I hope we will be able to take the chance in the coming weeks.”

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