Speaking after meeting both the IMC and the Secretary of State, David Ford said:
“The last IMC report showed that the leadership of the Republican movement is moving away from violence and starting to live up to the IRA’s statement of last summer. The next report, to be published next week, will be crucial in setting the tone for the talks in Scotland.
“I believe that the Secretary of State is absolutely serious when he states that the deadline for agreement is 24 November — indeed it is a few days earlier, since legislation is needed at Westminster. The fudge cannot last much longer.
“Sinn Fein has to make a firm commitment to supporting the rule of law. Nothing less will do. That means recognising the PSNI as the only legitimate police force, joining the structures, and co-operating with the police, including when those with whom they are associated are under investigation.
“The DUP has to accept that the IMC cannot give any paramilitary group a ‘perfect’ mark. There will be no A* grades. At some stage, sooner rather than later, they will have to take the risk of moving forward with other parties. If the IMC report next week shows further progress, there will be no excuses any longer.
“DUP members might well wish to have longer to assess republican bona fides. The blunt reality is that they don’t and the next seven weeks are all the time they have.”