Belfast Telegraph

Police hail 'constructive' talks

Senior police officers have met politicians and community representatives for the latest round of talks aimed at defusing tensions in Belfast.

The PSNI described the private discussions on the policing of public order events and parades as "constructive, open and frank".

There have been a series of meetings since the police held an initial round of talks in Cardiff in May.

At the meeting in Wales delegates agreed a series of principles, including a commitment to resolve differences through dialogue and non-violent means.

The last 12 months have seen community relations in the city damaged by a series of outbreaks of serious public disorder linked to flag and parading disputes.

The latest meeting came in the midst of a separate talks initiative chaired by former US diplomat Richard Haass aimed at finding resolution to the issues of flags, parading and dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

After the talks tonight, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said: "The discussions were constructive, open and frank. The group have agreed upon a number of points.

"One, that the issues being addressed in the discussions being chaired by Richard Haass are of profound importance for the future.

"Two, that the principles agreed in Cardiff remain fundamental to progress in building police and community relations.

"Three, that the group remains committed to work to resolve all current challenges by peaceful and lawful means."

The police said another meeting would be scheduled in the future.

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