Ford: All parties must be determined for talks to succeed

Alliance Leader David Ford has said new talks to resolve outstanding issues in Northern Ireland will only succeed if all parties go to the table determined to secure lasting solutions.

Mr Ford was speaking after Secretary of State Theresa Villiers announced she would convene inter-party talks to try and resolve on-going issues in Northern Ireland.

David Ford said: “for some months Alliance has called for talks to be convened by the two Governments as it was clear that Unionists and Nationalists have failed to reconvene around the table.

“I welcome this announcement, but it must go alongside a caution that any talks process will only succeed if all parties are prepared for the difficult conversations and determined to find real solutions on all issues, including flags, parades and the past.

“In recent months Unionists have ignored growing calls to get back around the table, with the so-called graduated response doing nothing but stalling any progress that could have been made. The Secretary of State has thrown down the gauntlet to them – they must re-engage before irreversible damage is done not only to Northern Ireland’s internal structures, but to its standing and relationships within the UK.

“Alliance has always been clear – only through open and honest dialogue will we succeed in building a stable, shared future for everyone. We are serious about delivering real change, but remain to be convinced of the motives and resolve of others to achieve the same goal. This is hardly surprising given that the same so-called political leaders are prepared to watch Northern Ireland sink deeper into financial ruin on a daily basis.

“Alliance is ready to play its part and I look forward to talks reconvening at the earliest opportunity.”

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