LETTER: Unionist input needed at Framework talks

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The Independent Online
From Ms Ves Kjenstad

Sir: Originally from Norway, I have lived in the UK for six years and have taken a keen interest in the Northern Ireland conflict since the Nobel peace prize was awarded to Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan in 1976. As an outsider, I consider myself neutral, although I've been amazed by the fact that two so-called civilised nations and peoples have been unable to find a settlement everyone can live with.

As far as I can see, with Northern Ireland being under direct rule from London, the unionists are the ones who must give something in order to achieve peace. I cannot see that the nationalist community has much to give, but a promise of co-operation and peace.

The unionists appear to be happy to accept a promise of peace without being willing to give anything in return. Any sensible person will see that the unionists must give some concessions to the nationalists to reach a settlement.

Without any pre-conceptualised ideas of the ideal solution for Northern Ireland, I have found that over the past months, the nationalists have come across as conciliatory and co-operative, with the unionists being completely the opposite.The unionists appear to be willing to give it all away because they are not allowed to dictate the framework for discussions and hence the outcome.

Unless there is a change of heart, I am afraid I've lost my sympathy for the unionist cause and I can only hope they will see sense before it's too late.

Yours faithfully,

V KJENSTAD

Wirral, Merseyside

23 February

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