Trimble says N.Ireland deal is close

Dec. 7, 2004 at 7:36 AM

LONDON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble said a Northern Ireland power sharing deal was close to agreement Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists after a visit to Downing Street, Trimble confirmed the results of the negotiations would be announced Wednesday.

"We will know tomorrow and the people of Northern Ireland will know tomorrow, one way or another," he said.

Trimble hinted the results would be positive, saying the people of Northern Ireland would be happier by Wednesday evening, though he said there could still be areas of concern.

Speaking of weapons decommissioning and closure of operations on the part of Sinn Fein, Trimble said, "The crucial thing is that there is transparency and confidence is created."

An initial power sharing deal was frozen in Oct. 2002 after Sinn Fein was found to be carrying out intelligence monitoring in the offices of the Northern Ireland assembly.

Trimble said the slow progress on negotiations had been because the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein were refusing to talk to each other directly, which created an opportunity for "confusion and mixed messages."

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