David Ford said: “Talks are at an extremely important stage and I believe that the coming days will define politics in Northern Ireland for years to come.
“It looks as if the DUP and Sinn Fein are finally engaging seriously on some of the crucial issues that have divided them and blocked progress.
“I am glad that the Ulster Unionists are being less negative about the need for the speedy devolution of justice powers. I think they have seen sense and realised that point-scoring looks extremely bad when the future of the Assembly is under discussion.
“Northern Ireland needs stability – we need a genuinely shared future and a new Justice Department with agreed policies which allow it to deliver for everyone from day one.”