By Anne Cadwallader
BELFAST — British Northern Secretary Mo Mowlam has said the March 10 deadline for the setting up of the ruling executive in the North may have to be broken.
Her deputy, Paul Murphy, also said this week that talks with the party leaders must take place before the executive can be formed and devolution of power take place as scheduled.
Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Dublin government, however, say that once the assembly meets next Monday and issues a cross-community "determination" on the 10 ministries and cross-border bodies, the executive should be set up without delay.
UUP leader David Trimble repeatedly said last week that the agreement will have to be "parked" until the IRA begins decommissioning.
On his Feb. 5 visit to the North, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the agreement must be implemented, "not parked."
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In Armagh where he had a meeting with the Catholic primate, Archbishop Sean Brady, Ahern admitted concern on the stalemate and accepted if there was no progress by March 10, the entire process would be in "very difficult territory."