I travelled to Belfast on Friday 8th February for a series of meetings with each of the five main political parties in Northern Ireland including: DUP Leader Ms Arlene Foster; Sinn Féin Vice President Ms Michelle O'Neill; UUP leader Robin Swann; Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long and Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP.
The meetings provided an opportunity to engage with the Northern Ireland political parties and to hear their views on latest Brexit developments and on the current political situation in Northern Ireland.
We discussed what could be done to get the institutions in Northern Ireland up and running again. Once again, I emphasised the Government’s full commitment to all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement, and our continuing determination to secure the effective operation of all of its institutions.
The Government wants to see an agreement in place to secure the operation of the devolved institutions and we will continue to engage with the British Government and the political parties in Northern Ireland to seek urgent progress with that in the period immediately ahead.
On Brexit, I outlined to each of the NI parties the Government's position, shared by the EU, that the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation and represents the best way to secure an orderly Brexit while avoiding a return to a hard border.