Talks on Belfast parade for troops
Talks are under way which could lead to British troops marching through Belfast on a homecoming parade.
Soldiers who have served in Afghanistan are routinely "welcomed home" to towns and cities with which their units have historic ties.
But the sight of British troops marching through Northern Ireland could prove controversial with republicans and provide a security headache for officials tasked with maintaining public order and safety.
Junior defence minister Andrew Robathan said the Ministry of Defence was negotiating over how best to honour soldiers returning from the frontline.
He said: "Discussions with officials from Belfast City Council continue with the aim of agreeing an appropriate way to recognise the contribution of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards and The Royal Irish Regiment during their last tour in Afghanistan.
"The Department acknowledges the importance for the general public to have an opportunity to show their appreciation and support for our service personnel; both units will have participated in a full and engaging post-operation tour programme by the end of this year, including in Northern Ireland."
Mr Robathan was answering a written Parliamentary question from Nigel Dodds, Democratic Unionist MP for Belfast North.