Minister Andrews' meeting with Secretary of State Mowlam
It is always a pleasure to receive Mo Mowlam in Dublin. We had a very useful meeting. Our discussions coincide with an important Roundtable meeting of parties being co-chaired by David Trimble and Seamus Mallon in Belfast. For all of us the focus is the same - the urgent need to press on with the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement in all its aspects. We all share a determination that the will of the people in the form of the Agreement must, and will, be delivered in full.
In my discussions with the Secretary of State, we reviewed across the board the wide range of implementation activities underway. A particular focus was the North/South provisions of the Agreement. Our strong hope is that there can be real and meaningful discussions in these days on North/South areas for co-operation and implementation so that the substance of what was envisaged in the Agreement can be met roughly within the time-scale set down.
That is why we greatly welcomed the initiative of the David Trimble and Séamus Mallon in calling today's Roundtable, in order to intensify engagement on the implementation of the North/South provisions of the Agreement. We look forward to the outcome of that meeting. On our side, the Irish Government - and, I know, the British Government also - stand ready to engage in substantive discussions with the Northern Ireland parties in the coming days, any place, any time. The North/South institutions are critical for the balance of the Agreement. I am certain that, with goodwill, we can establish new arrangements which will both facilitate the new partnership between North and South charted in the Agreement and be of real, practical benefit to both parts of the island.
Nobody is seeking to disguise the nature of the difficulties and challenges facing us. But we have overcome tougher hurdles than this. I believe that there is a genuine commitment on the part of all the parties to this Agreement to make it work. That is the core reality. As politicians, our job is to overcome the problems. We intend to do that job. Top