Trimble is warned by Unionist hardliners

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The Independent Online

Verbal hostilities broke out within the Ulster Unionist party yesterday as Northern Ireland politicians assembled for crucial talks at the American ambassador's residence in Regent's Park, central London. The Mitchell review of the Good Friday Agreement is now entering its final stages.

Verbal hostilities broke out within the Ulster Unionist party yesterday as Northern Ireland politicians assembled for crucial talks at the American ambassador's residence in Regent's Park, central London. The Mitchell review of the Good Friday Agreement is now entering its final stages.

Tensions within David Trimble's Ulster Unionist party were starkly exposed yesterday when six of his MPs joined with his predecessor, Lord Molyneaux, to in effect warn him against striking a deal with Sinn Fein.

The seven, who are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement, declared on decommissioning: "We wish Senator Mitchell, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson to know that any attempt to fudge this issue or force the Ulster Unionist Party to ditch their policy will be resisted in the strongest possible terms."

Although the statement was ostensibly directed at the Government, observers were in no doubt that its target was Mr Trimble, who is faced with the prospect of reaching an accord with Sinn Fein or of seeing his treasured Belfast Assembly collapse.

The Unionists said the statement came from,"a small group" of members, and reminded them that party policy required them to work towards implementing the Agreement.

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