Northern Ireland

NI talks: Theresa Villiers tells party leaders it is 'make your mind up time'

Theresa Villiers
Image caption Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers made her comments ahead of the resumption of cross-party discussions on Monday

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has said it is "make your mind up time" for Northern Ireland's political leaders ahead of cross-party talks.

Ms Villiers made her comments ahead of discussions resuming on Monday morning.

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

"These talks finish tomorrow, even if it takes all night," Ms Villiers said. "If there's no agreement tomorrow, there isn't going to be one, and the process ends in failure."

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

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.

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".

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".

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.

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