Belfast Telegraph

Theresa Villiers upbeat as talks reach 'sensitive' phase

By Steven Alexander

Parading and dealing with the legacy of the Troubles will be the focus of the sixth week of the multi-party talks, the Secretary of State has said.

Theresa Villiers said the five Executive parties will also be looking at potential reform of Stormont today and tomorrow.

Despite little visible progress, she remained upbeat, urging the five political parties to continue to work together.

"Nobody should underestimate how tough it will be to get an agreement. These are sensitive and highly divisive issues and there are a number of points on which it will be very difficult to reach consensus," she said. "From my discussions with the political parties over the past number of weeks I firmly believe that there is a genuine desire on the part of all to make progress on these issues."

Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said the talks are now entering an important phase.

"Both the Secretary of State and I will be reporting to the Prime Minister and to the Taoiseach respectively on the state of play in the talks by the end of next week and I hope we will be in a position to report significant progress," he said.

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