UK, Ireland urge Northern Ireland to form a government | News | DW | 10.01.2020
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UK, Ireland urge Northern Ireland to form a government

The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party has cautiously backed a draft deal to restore Northern Ireland's regional assembly. The province has been without a government since the beginning of 2017.

Both the British and Irish governments made moves to encourage Northern Ireland and its parties to form a government Thursday by urging them to sign up to a draft resolution.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader, Arlene Foster, seemed to support the motion. She said in a statement that there "is a basis upon which the Assembly and Executive can be reestablished in a fair and balanced way."

Read more: Brexit deal: What could it mean for the Northern Irish and British economies?

However, she still had words of caution: "This is not a perfect deal and there are elements within it which we recognize represent compromise outcomes."

Sinn Fein, the largest nationalist party, will gather its leadership Friday to "fully assess" the draft deal, party chief Mary Lou McDonald said.

UK Northern Ireland Minister Julian Smith said he asked the speaker of the house to recall the regional assembly on Friday and hoped the parties would back the accord. Smith admitted that this was the "one chance to get this right."

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Northern Ireland has been without a government since January 2017 when Sinn Fein withdrew from the power-sharing deal, claiming they were being treated unfairly.

Read more: The Irish border — what you need to know

Since then Sinn Fein and the largest pro-British party, the DUP, have blamed each other for a number of failed attempts to find a solution to the standoff.

However, with a Monday deadline for an agreement drawing ever closer, a deal could now be in sight. Should an agreement not be reached, fresh elections would appear inevitable.

jsi/dr (Reuters, AFP)

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