Talks to ease Northern Ireland tensions break down
BELFAST (REUTERS) - Marathon talks between the leaders of Northern Ireland's Catholic and Protestant communities broke down on Tuesday without agreement to ease tensions that have led to one of the worst years of rioting in the British province for a decade.
The US diplomat chairing the talks said the five largest parties in Northern Ireland failed to reach an agreement during 18 hours of talks that ended shortly before 0500 GMT, the culmination of six months of negotiations.
No date was set for the resumption of the talks, which were a response to some of the highest levels of street violence and attacks by militant groups since a peace and power-sharing deal in 1998.
That put an end three decades of sustained sectarian violence in the province between pro-British Protestants and Catholics who generally favour unification with Ireland.