Minister Andrews welcomes emerging spirit of Compromise
Speaking in Belfast following the Round Table Meeting of the participants of the Multi-party Talks today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews, TD, said, " The time in which to find a resolution of the current impasse grows ever shorter. It is very important that the talking continues and intensifies. Only through dialogue, and a mutual understanding of each other's positions, can a way through be found which is acceptable to both sides. I understand that last week's round-table was a very positive and honest attempt to explore some of the fundamental issues. "
The Minister continued, "Since then, intensive work has continued in bilateral and trilateral mode, including at Downing Street on Thursday. Ideas are being actively explored between the parties. It's also important that a constructive and conciliatory tone be maintained in public debate on the issue. In that context, I very much welcome recent comments by Billy Hutchinson of the PUP in regard to his party's support for the achievement of decommissioning in the context of the implementation of the Agreement."
"Likewise, I feel that at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis there was, in addition to the strong presentation of the party's own view, an acknowledgement of the reality of unionist perceptions." The Minister added, and then continued "I welcome the designation of Martin McGuinness and Bairbre De Brún as future Sinn Féin Ministers. The Irish Government looks forward to working with them, and all Ministers, on North/South issues."
The Minister further said, " UUP spokesmen - like Dermot Nesbitt on RTE radio this morning have also reflected the improving relationship between their party and Sinn Féin. Séamus Mallon, and members of other parties, have also been pressing strongly and effectively for a compromise."
The Minister concluded by saying,"It's in all our interests, as those who want to see the success of the Agreement, that we present as positive an image as possible. Of course, the substance of the issue is what is most important. I am aware that much of the most important work will inevitably be carried on behind the scenes. Inevitably, with the focus on the concerns of specific parties, others can at times feel somewhat frustrated. But this round-table process is useful in giving us a chance to look at the issues in the round. All parties must have a place to voice their concerns and engage directly. "