Adams in historic talks with Northern Ireland police chief
The Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and the chief of Northern Ireland's police will meet today for the first time as talks on a new peace agreement enter a critical phase.
Mr Adams and Chief Constable Hugh Orde will break new ground by holding talks. Mr Adams will also meet Tony Blair at Downing Street.
Direct official contact between the republican movement and the police has been one of the few remaining taboos in Northern Ireland. The encounter will encourage hopes that a political breakthrough is on the horizon.
Sinn Fein and the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party have for weeks been engaged in intense negotiations conducted via the British and Irish governments.
Mr Blair and the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern hope that a deal can be struck in mid-week. The terms of a new accord will be complex but will centre on DUP agreement to enter government with Sinn Fein following substantial IRA concessions on weaponry.
The timing of the Adams-Orde meeting is particularly significant since an important part of any deal will be the transfer of policing and security powers to a new Belfast administration. A police spokesman said: "The Chief Constable ... has said he will meet anyone who has a positive contribution to make towards policing in Northern Ireland."
The next few days will see a flurry of other activity as London and Dublin try to stitch together a new deal. Mr Paisley is to meet General John De Chastelain, head of the arms decommissioning body, today, and will see Mr Blair tomorrow.
President George Bush has telephoned both Mr Paisley and Mr Adams, urging them to finalise an agreement. President Bush said he had sought to get the two parties to the table "to get a deal done".
- 1 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 2 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 iPhone 6s camera: features to include 4K video camera and flash for selfies
- 5 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
If Surrey were Syria: Social experiment shows what it's like to live under siege
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hull based charity providing except...
£9464 - £10396 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will ne...
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...
Unpaid - £4 lunch allowance plus travel to and from work: Barnardo's: Purpose ...