The DUP and Sinn Fein are now essentially on the same side and must operate a common strategy, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness believes.
He added that referendum on a united Ireland should come with unionist agreement and that Stormont might continue to operate even if the border was removed.
Mr McGuinness said a referendum on a united Ireland, which is the only way unity can be achieved under the Good Friday Agreement, “should not be raised as an issue of contention between us and the unionist political leaders or the British government”.
On the question of a separate parliament remaining in Northern Ireland he said: “I would prefer a unitary state but I am open minded about the prospect.
“Other people have other ideas and we should be mature enough
to sit down and discuss the way forward.”
The Sinn Fein leader stated that “as Irish republicans we have always shown ourselves to be willing to listen to what others have to say, particularly in the context of finding new ways forward”.
He stressed that he would seek ways of maximising the Irish dimension in Northern Ireland.
“There is more change coming,” he predicted.
He added: “My strategy is to continue to do my job, to stand against those who would try to bring us back to the past and to continually forge agreements with Peter Robinson and show our people that things work.”
He believes this united approach has already led to electoral success for both Sinn Fein and the DUP in the recent polls.
“The bulk of the community effectively saw Peter Robinson and I on the same side. With different political allegiance, but we were on the same side with regard to how we move forward together.
“The opposition came from Tom Elliott and Margaret Ritchie.”
He said the election marked a “profound change” because “people came out to support the onward march of the peace process under the stewardship of myself and Peter Robinson.”
“It was a very heart-warming result for both of us and the parties who were seen to be negative suffered.”
The Deputy First Minister said that republicans were “up for” an international Truth Commission to determine what had happened during the Troubles, but he did not believe the British government was prepared to participate.
“I personally would be prepared to attend it,” he said.
“We have raised the issue but I can only conclude from the lukewarm response from the British government that they don’t want to be involved.”
He claimed Tony Blair had warned him that previous Tory administrations had a lot to hide.
The Deputy First Minister said the frank exchange with the then Labour prime minister occurred in 1998 during a long meeting in Chequers.
“Tony admitted it on the week of the Good Friday negotiations,” Mr McGuinness said.
“He talked to us in detail about what the previous Tory administrations had sanctioned in the North of Ireland.”
However, Mr McGuinness drew the line at making the number of IRA weapons decommissioned public. He hinted that the number of weapons put beyond use might not be as large as the published estimates because some had been stolen by dissidents.
“The IRA has been on the record as saying that people left their organisation and when they left took equipment with them,” he said.