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Key talks on N.Irish settlement

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Key talks on N.Irish settlement

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Significant movement in the Northern Ireland peace process may be underway with unprecedented meetings between Sinn Fein, the main Catholic party and political ally of the IRA, and Northern Ireland’s police chief.

Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein parliamentarians also met Prime Minister Tony Blair, and discussed what Britain might do if the IRA surrendered much of its weapons stockpile. “It is a disgrace that Republican heartlands are militarised with British Crown forces the way they are and we are going to put that to Hugh Orde to try and get a programme for accelerated demilitarisation underway,” said Adams. The meeting was described as “useful” by Adams. Both he and his Protestant adversaries know time is running out to break the deadlock and restore political powersharing to Northern Ireland. It has been suspended since October 2002 and the patience of both peace process sponsors, London and Dublin, is wearing thin.