Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland talks: Ministers hold conference call with David Cameron

David Cameron Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Prime Minister David Cameron had a conference call with the Northern Ireland first and deputy first minister on Saturday

The Northern Ireland first minister and deputy first minister have held a conference call with the prime minister.

First Minister Peter Robinson said the call on Saturday focused on the cross-party talks and financial issues contained in the paper given to David Cameron.

The talks are on flags, parades, the legacy of the Troubles and welfare.

More discussions are due to take place on Monday.

Mr Robinson said he welcomed the prime minister's engagement in "these financial issues this weekend" and looked forward to further discussions on Monday.

Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness said the proposals on public finances required "additional financial support and a commitment from the British government to deal with outstanding issues from the Good Friday and other agreements".

"A comprehensive agreement between the governments and the parties is what is required," he said.

"Work is continuing between the parties on the outstanding issues of identity, parades and the legacy of the past but agreement has yet to be reached.

"There will be further talks on Monday and it's important the two governments engage in this process if the talks are to reach a successful conclusion."

Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan had said an important breakthrough was made on Friday.

He said he detected a determination on everybody's part to reach an agreement.

Mr Flanagan predicted that an agreement was possible if not on Monday, then "a short time after".

'Loans'

However, he accepted that everyone was waiting for Mr Cameron's response to the five Northern Ireland Executive parties' proposals on finances.

The five main parties have asked the UK government for £2bn in loans and extra funding over a 10-year period, the BBC understands.

In an interview with the Irish state broadcaster RTÉ, Mr Flanagan said there had been progress on Troubles legacy issues as well as finances on Friday.

However, he added that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed".

Mr Flanagan said he and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers would resume talks on Monday.

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