Northern Ireland

Peace process issues: Martin McGuinness says agreement 'difficult'

The Northern Ireland deputy first minister has said people should be under no illusions about how difficult it will be to find agreement on the issues of flags, parades and the past.

Martin McGuinness was speaking ahead of a round of intensive talks beginning next week.

He said they had to approach the problem in a "positive and constructive spirit".

He added that failure to get agreement would allow people to pass a negative judgment on the politicians.

Mr McGuinness, who was appearing in front of a Stormont committee alongside First Minister Peter Robinson, said despite the executive's successes it would still be judged by what was happening on the streets.

Mr Robinson said he believed the executive was not "particularly good" at getting its own message across.

The new talks aimed at finding a solution to the problems of flags, parades and the past are expected to be held in two three-day sessions.

Six months of negotiations last year ended on New Year's Eve with no agreement.

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