Ulster talks move to US embassy

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The Independent Online

US SENATOR George Mitchell said last night that the Ulster talks were entering a "crucial stage" after they moved to the US Embassy in London.

US SENATOR George Mitchell said last night that the Ulster talks were entering a "crucial stage" after they moved to the US Embassy in London.

The talks are expected to move again today, this time to Lancaster House in central London, where the main parties have held talks in the past.

The use of the embassy was seen as an attempt by Mr Mitchell to breath fresh life into discussions, which have been deadlocked in Ulster.

Mr Mitchell said he still believed the talks could succeed. "We are now entering what I believe to be the crucial phase of the review." Commitment from all the pro-Agreement parties to find a way forward is now needed, he said. "I hope they can do so in a way that will create the necessary trust."

Sinn Fein's delegation is seeking assurances that it will be allowed into the Ulster power-sharing executive, and the Ulster Unionists are sticking to demands that the IRA disarm first.

Peter Mandelson, the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was in London last night, with a watching brief.

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