Talks on Ulster elections

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The Independent Online
John Major is seeking early talks with John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, to try to persuade the democratic nationalists to drop their opposition to his plans for elections in Northern Ireland, writes Colin Brown.

Ministers believe the meeting next week could hold the key to the plan to bring all the parties together after holding elections. Mr Hume has warned that it would not work, and in the past elections have led to more trouble.

Since Mr Hume's warnings, the Irish government, with whom he is in close contact, has moved closer to the British plan, calling for the elections to be preceded by "proximity" talks.

British ministers have privately told the Independent they are looking for a compromise under which the present round of talks, involving the main democratic parties and the two governments, would meet the Irish demands.