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Foster warns over powersharing talks as Brokenshire meets parties at Stormont

05 September 2017

The DUP leader said Sinn Fein had reacted with breakneck speed to reject her suggestion that a ministerial executive at Stormont be restored alongside a parallel process dealing with cultural issues such as the Irish language.

The Northern Secretary James Brokenshire was meeting the five main Northern parties at Stormont on Monday while the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is to meet the parties in Belfast on Tuesday.

"We need to see the implementation of outstanding agreements and an end to the denial of rights enjoyed by citizens everywhere else on these islands on language, marriage and access to coroner's courts", she said in a statement.

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She added: "I am not going to be prescriptive but we do not believe that there can be a prolonged set of talks".

The British and Irish governments, who are facilitating the talks, have warned that failing to reach an agreement would have "profound and serious" implications and limit Northern Ireland's influence in Brexit negotiations, although no one is forecasting a return to serious violence. Certainly from our part we do.

Sinn Féin is pushing for a stand-alone Irish Language Act, something the DUP has resisted.

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"We have no red lines - we have no barriers".

Addressing her party executive for the first time since the General Election, she dismissed claims that the DUP did not want a return to devolution because of "the unprecedented position" it now finds itself in Westminster.

However, Sinn Féin Assembly leader Michelle O'Neill said the speech showed the DUP "have not listened or acknowledged the reasons of Martin's resignation". Now we stand on the cusp of a new century for Northern Ireland.

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She said it had been turned down in March.

Foster warns over powersharing talks as Brokenshire meets parties at Stormont