September 11, 2015 / 7:08 AM / 2 years ago

Britain calls for talks to calm Northern Ireland crisis

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Friday sought to calm a political crisis in Northern Ireland by calling on all sides to work together in cross-party talks and supporting the idea of creating an independent body to disband paramilitary organizations.

Northern Ireland’s power-sharing administration was on the brink of collapse on Thursday after a murder linked to the IRA plunged the province towards the gravest crisis since a 1998 peace deal ended years of sectarian violence.

“I wish we weren’t at this situation,” Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers told the BBC.

“The important thing now is to try and find a way to repair those working relationships, to deal with issues around paramilitaries, to get the Stormont House agreement implemented, also essential, and the way to do that is cross-party talks,” she said.

When asked if she supported the establishment of an independent authority that would look at the issue of decommissioning weapons and disbanding paramilitary organizations, she said it was “one of the most credible ideas”.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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