Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland talks: Chance of success slim says Theresa Villiers

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said the chance of success in the talks was slim Image copyright PAcemaker press
Image caption Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said the chance of success in the talks was slim

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has said the chances of clinching a final deal at Northern Ireland's inter-party talks look slim.

Another round of the talks is due to reconvene later on Wednesday.

In a statement, Ms Villiers said: "We've reached a critical stage of these talks.

"There's been some positive work by all the parties, but the chances of clinching a final deal look slim." She said significant differences remained.

The talks are aimed at finding a way forward on a range of unresolved issues.

Wednesday's session follows a series of fierce exchanges between the parties over controversial comments by DUP MP Gregory Campbell and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Ms Villiers is due to make a progress report to Prime Minister David Cameron on the state of the Stormont talks this Friday.

Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan has said substantial progress has been made, but also said that there is very significant work yet to be done.

After the controversies over remarks from both Mr Campbell and Mr Adams few could fault the logic, but it is striking that ministers who normally seek to put a positive gloss on these talks are now relatively blunt in their assessments.

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