The aim of these talks is to establish an agreed collective way forward on Northern Ireland legacy issues in light of the concerns raised, and in response to new proposals which will be brought forward by the UK Government in relation to aspects of the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.
It is understood that the shared objective is to deal with these issues comprehensively and fairly, and in a way that supports information recovery and reconciliation, complies fully with international human rights obligations, and that responds to the needs of victims and survivors, and society as a whole.
In recognition of the breadth and extent of previous consultations and discussions on legacy issues including leading to, and on the implementation of, the Stormont House Agreement, and the urgent need for a dedicated framework to deal comprehensively with legacy cases, these talks will be short and they will be focused on the key issues that are central to achieving rapid progress.
The talks will have as their objective to find an agreed way forward that will allow implementing legislation to be introduced in both UK and Ireland by the end of this autumn.
Working groups will be convened to discuss in detail the key issues central to making progress. These will include discussions on how to implement all the key legacy themes that are addressed in the Stormont House Agreement and are also the subject of the new UK Government proposals. These include: Investigations, Information Recovery, Oral History, Reconciliation and Acknowledgement. This may initially see one group to examine issues around investigations and information recovery, and a second to examine issues of oral history, reconciliation, acknowledgement and memorialisation.
These working groups will involve nominated representatives from the main political parties and the two Governments. These working groups will begin meeting immediately. There will be a coordinating group chaired by the UK and Irish Governments and the two Governments will consider appointing independent facilitators for each working group.
The participants will also hold meetings on an inclusive basis including to ensure that the interests and perspectives of victims and survivors, and all those most directly affected by the Troubles, are central to the discussions. The participants will also meet with leading experts relevant to the areas under discussion. The UK and Irish Governments will each ensure that relevant Parliamentary committees and interested members of Parliament are engaged and updated on progress as appropriate.
Meetings chaired by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Minister for Foreign Affairs will be convened as necessary to assess progress. The Prime Minister and the Taoiseach will review progress made and consider any necessary further steps at the appropriate point.
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