Talks to start ‘not a moment too soon’

AN Alliance Party delegation has met with the Secretary of State to discuss the situation surrounding the peace process.

Speaking afterwards, Alliance leader David Ford stated: “Alliance had a constructive meeting with the Secretary of State concentrating on how to restore confidence to the peace process.

“The Secretary of State has told us that there will be a major push to start negotiations in early September. This will not be a moment too soon. Unless devolution can be restored in the near future, there is an increasing danger of more and more people losing faith in democratic politics, while the extremists benefit.

“The civil war in the UUP must not distract us from the main issue, which is that republicans must provide a clear indication that there will be an end to all paramilitary activity in line with the Joint Declaration.

“The International Monitoring Body will be an important confidence-building measure, and Alliance pushed for this to be established in at least shadow form in a few weeks time.

“Alliance also raised deep concerns at the attempts of the nationalist parties to discredit the Human Rights Commission. It is important that the Government takes steps to respect the integrity and independence of the Commission.”

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