9 May 2002 Edition

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It's time for real talks

Sinn Féin Vice President, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty, says it is time for real talks after the Assembly backed a Sinn Féin motion supporting the principles of the Good Friday Agreement despite opposition from the DUP and the abstention of the UUP.

"The debate today demonstrated that we are not talking enough to each other," said Doherty. "The quality and frequency of dialogue needs to be strengthened and deepened. We need real engagement. It's time for real talk. The anti-Agreement unionists are taking us nowhere it is time that the pro-Agreement parties developed a richer understanding of the problems confronting us individually and collectively.

"The establishment of an implementation group was one of the elements of the Weston Park talks. But to date it has met only once. We need to develop this so that we can address the issues of concern and build up confidence. These meetings need to be frequent and regular.

"The Good Friday Agreement created opportunities and challenges, and collective responsibilities. But we will only grasp the opportunities and rise to the challenge if we work together."

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