Byline: Trevor Mason
Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid yesterday appealed for all sides in the province to live up to their obligations under the Good Friday peace agreement.
After the resignation of David Trimble as Northern Ireland First Minister, over the IRA's failure to begin decommissioning, Dr Reid told the Commons: 'In the coming weeks, all of us must show it is politics, not violence, which works.
'We are determined to live up, in full, to our obligations under the Good Friday agreement - but others must do so as well.'
Dr John Reid spoke of his 'regret' over Mr Trimble's decision and paid tribute to the 'courageous' part played by him in the peace process.
But in a frank assessment of the situation, he acknowledged there was now 'little time left to resolve the difficulties and obstacles' remaining.
If the vacant offices of First and Deputy First Minister are not successfully filled in six weeks, the Government will be obliged to propose a date for fresh Assembly elections, he told MPs.
Despite Dr Reid's appeal, Mr Trimble said there could be no concessions to republicans over the coming weeks in return for IRA disarmament.
In a hardening of his party's line, the former Northern Ireland First Minister warned in the Commons that unionists would not tolerate concessions to Sinn Fein on policing in return for decommissioning. …