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Secretary Of State To Meet With NI Political Parties
05 September 2017, 07:51 | Melanie Burgess
Niall O Donnghaile
Foster made the comments while addressing members of the Democratic Unionist Party in Belfast tonight.
"Northern Ireland simply can not continue without democratic oversight and that means the speedy introduction of direct rule if agreement is not reached", she warned.
He is meeting the five main parties at Stormont on Monday as he assesses the chances of a breakthrough. "And I believe that cultural security and confidence are vital to this new, more positive chapter in our history", Foster said. Certainly from our part we do.
"We have no red lines - we have no barriers".
"Given that it was the first time our community has held sustained power here since partition, nationalism in particular needs to reflect on that".
Talks have been led by the British and Irish governments but with no breakthrough some prominent DUP MPs are warning a return to direct rule from Westminster could be looming.
In her response, Sinn Féin's leader in the north Michelle O'Neill said the DUP had previously failed to honour its agreements.
She warned there were small windows over the next two months to make progress.
Foster offered to "bring forward legislation to address culture and language issues in Northern Ireland within a time-limited period to be agreed", referring to Sinn Fein's key demand for protection of the rights of Irish language speakers.
Power-sharing in the North collapsed in January when then Deputy First Minister the late Martin McGuinness resigned over the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) or "cash for ash" scandal, which could cost taxpayers in the region of €460 million.
Negotiations were paused over the summer.
"So in essence it was making an offer, which the DUP knew would be rejected", O'Neill said.
She said, "We want to make the institutions work".
"It was put out knowing what the outcome would be and what the response would be".
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