Negotiations on the implementation of the St Andrews Agreement have ended tonight without agreement, but are due to continue on Monday. The six days of talks represent the longest period of sustained negotiations since the peace process began in the 1990s.
The Dublin and London governments had threatened to publish their own proposals on Friday to break the deadlock. British officials said tonight the discussion had made “considerable progress”,
British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward said “there remains work to be done”, while Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy said the marathon talks were making progress. and his party he wanted to bring matters to a “speedy conclusion”.
“We are maybe getting somewhere now. We have progress made, we are hopeful that we can finish this fairly quickly,” he said.
“We are getting towards the point now where negotiations will end.”
The talks are the culmination of three years of stalemate over the DUP’s refusal to proceed with the transfer of policing and justice power from London to Belfast.
The DUP had set out a list of preconditions, including demands on the routing of sectarian parades through nationalist communities.
The DUP’s Edwin Poots said there had been “considerable advancement” and his party wanted to “conclude the business”.
“We are looking to tidy some things up tonight and there is some more work to be done on Monday,” he said.
“We have been working towards creating certainty and clarity about the issues.
“It’s more important about getting the right deal, as opposed to a hurried deal.”