» Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Northern Ireland

Asked "what the score with Northern Ireland" was, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that in terms of today’s meeting, the talks had been serious and constructive. The parties would want to reflect over the coming days, but time was getting short for people to make up their minds. He was not going to get into a game of precise deadlines, but the Leeds Castle talks earlier in the year had established that there was a basis for progress. The PMOS continued that the question now was: had the talks maintained that analysis? The answer was yes, they had. He said that people could not make other people’s minds up for them, as they needed to have the space and privacy to do that for themselves. The PMOS had said earlier in the week that this was an important week and an important time, and he had so far not seen anything to disagree with that.

Asked if the talks were teetering on the bring of collapse or success, the PMOS replied that he was not going to get into the optimism or pessimism game, as he had said earlier in the week. It would, in the end, depend on the parties making up their minds. He did not see any sign that the parties were treating the talks as anything other than an important moment.

Asked if there were going to be any more meetings over the next few days, the PMOS said there would be contact, but not at Prime Ministerial level, but the intensive discussions would go on behind the scenes.
Asked if the Prime Minister had seen Gerry Adams this week, the PMOS said he was not aware of a meeting, but we were in contact with all the parties.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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