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Villiers responds following a long night of talks

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Secretary of States comments following a long night of talks between Dr Haass and the NI Political Parties

Ms Villiers said:

I’d like to thank Dr Haass and all the participants in the working group on flags, parades and the past. I hope that work can continue after Christmas to see if an agreement can be reached on these difficult issues. In the many conversations I have had with party leaders and others over recent days, I have been impressed by the commitment they have shown and the willingness to consider the point of view of others. The UK Government will continue to support the efforts made by the Northern Ireland parties as they seek a way forward. I also welcome the enthusiastic support offered by the Irish Government for this process and have kept in close touch with Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore throughout.

It is sad that the final hours of this latest round of talks took place against the backdrop of the news of a shooting attack on Lisnaskea police station. This was disgraceful and reckless. The officers of the PSNI serve the whole community, working hard to keep Northern Ireland safe, often at significant personal risk. An attack on the police is an attack on all of us. Terrorist attempts to kill and injure people will not succeed in forcing Northern Ireland back to its past. The overwhelming majority have chosen the democratic path and totally reject violence as a means to further political aims.