Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Paisley meets Mayhew as frantic week of talks begins

By Vincent Kearney,

THE DUP today kicked off a week of frantic political activity when it held talks with Sir Patrick Mayhew at Stormont.

Party leader Ian Paisley insisted the meeting was not part of the twin-track process and said he would use it to reiterate demands for an elected convention.

But the twin-track process will be in action tomorrow when Sir Patrick, accompanied by Michael Ancram, meets a Sinn Fein delegation led by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

At the same time, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble will be meeting Prime Minister John Major in Downing Street.

The frantic round of pre- Christmas activity will continue on Wednesday when the Secretary of State and Irish deputy premier Dick Spring hold an Anglo-Irish inter-governmental conference meeting in Dublin.

Mr Major is then expected to have talks with Taoiseach John Bruton before visiting Belfast on Thursday.

Speaking before his meeting with Sir Patrick today, Mr Paisley revealed that he would present him with written answers to a series of questions from the Prime Minister about the proposals for an elected convention.

"This meeting has nothing to do with the twin-track and I think Sir Patrick Mayhew knows better than to try to pressurise the DUP into joining that process," he added.

The DUP leader, who was accompanied by his deputy Peter Robinson, Mid-Ulster MP the Rev Wiiliam McCrea and party secretary Nigel Dodds, said Mr Major has asked for a further meeting to discuss the issue early next year.

Sinn Fein sources said Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness would use tomorrow's meeting with the Secretary of State and Mr Ancram to restate its call for an immediate move to all-party talks _ before decommissioning.

The party reiterated that message today when it met Dick Spring in Dublin today, shortly after making the same argument to the international arms commission.



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