PARTY LEADERS MEET IN CRISIS TALKS OVER UNION FLAG PROTESTS

DUP leader Peter Robinson to co-chair new Unionist Forum

DUP leader Peter Robinson to co-chair new Unionist Forum

ROUND TABLE talks are to be held on Thursday between the leaders of the five main political parties – the first since trouble erupted over the Union flag.

The meeting had been due to take place last week but was cancelled after some parties refused to attend.

First Minister Peter Robinson said it was “important that leaders meet when a crisis exists”.

Mr Robinson met with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness on Monday.

They issued a joint statement calling for the protests to stop.

Protests began on 3 December after Belfast City Council voted to fly the flag only on designated days at the city hall.

Violence has flared following some of the the protests.

The first minister said the meeting must result in action.

“It can only be useful, in the present context, if action is taken which addresses the flags issue,” he said.

“I will be asking the other leaders to initiate a formal review of the issue of flags and start a public consultation process as part of the review.”

On Tuesday, Mr Robinson and Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt said they were inviting other unionist politicians and groups to join a forum to address the flags issue.

However, no date has yet been set for the first meeting of the Unionist Forum and who is likely to attend.

 

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