No Sign of Deal After Intensive Northern Ireland Talks

Talks on the Northern Ireland political process broke up on Monday evening with no sign that a deal would be achieved to save devolution.

Monday evening's session of intensive talks at Weston Park, near Birmingham, central England, involved Prime Minister Tony Blair, Irish Prime Minister Berti Ahern and the three main pro- Agreement parties - the Ulster Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labor Party (SDLP) and Sinn Fein.

It concluded the first of two days of discussions brokered by the British and Irish governments to try to break the impasse in the Northern Ireland political process.

The two prime ministers hope the talks in Weston House will find a way for the power-sharing institutions to function following David Trimble's resignation as the province's first minister on July 1.

Speaking after the parties left Weston House on Monday night, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said the day had been "reasonably useful as far as Sinn Fein was concerned".

However, he accused the British government of failing to show sufficient leadership and said that "a change of approach" was needed.

The parties were discussing the issues blocking the implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement - paramilitary arms decommissioning, policing and demilitarization.

The Ulster Unionist delegation, led by party leader David Trimble and the SDLP delegation led by party leader John Hume and deputy leader Seamus Mallon left Weston House without comments on Monday night.

The second day of the two days of talks is expected to start at about 0930 GMT on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, some of the smaller pro-Agreement parties have expressed anger at being excluded from the talks on Monday evening.

The Alliance Party, Progressive Unionist Party, Ulster Democratic Party and Women's Coalition are not expected to be invited back to the talks unless there is the prospect of a deal between the main pro-Agreement parties.

People's Daily Online ---