Belfast Telegraph

Stormont talks: Intensive dialogue between DUP and Sinn Fein to continue

The UK Government says the DUP and Sinn Fein will continue intensive talks in the coming days in a bid to break the deadlock at Stormont.

A UK Government spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph that bilateral talks between the parties will resume on Monday.

"Exchanges between the DUP and Sinn Fein have been taking place over recent days, and will continue next week”, the spokesperson said.

"On Monday there will be further bilaterals involving all of the parties.

"And for the rest of the week there will be further intensive dialogue between the DUP and Sinn Fein."

"The UK government and the Irish government will continue to engage with all parties."

It’s unlikely that Prime Minister Theresa May is planning to become directly involved in the talks at this time.

Last week Secretary of State James Brokenshire warned the parties that the "window of opportunity" to reach a deal to save Stormont was closing.

Powersharing collapsed when the late Sinn Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness resigned in January in protest at the DUP's handling of the botched RHI scheme.

An Irish Language Act remains the major stumbling block to progress.

At the end of last week DUP leader Arlene Foster told the Belfast Telegraph: "We had useful discussions with Sinn Fein over a number of days. We will have intensive talks with all parties but ultimately we can only reach an agreement if Sinn Fein is prepared to negotiate.”

Meanwhile Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill insisted that her party was committed to reaching a deal.

Speaking at the Irish Labour Awards in New York, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said: "I am not naive about the challenges facing all of us but I am hopeful that we can end the current crisis and restore the political institutions on the basis of equality and respect."

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