Britain rejects Irish call for role in Northern Ireland rule

Simon Coveney. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2017
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Britain rejects Irish call for role in Northern Ireland rule

BELFAST: Britain on Tuesday rejected a call by the Irish foreign minister for Dublin to be given a role in the running of Northern Ireland if parties fail to revive the devolved power-sharing government, saying it would “never countenance” joint authority.
The 1998 peace deal that ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland between Irish nationalists and British unionists provides for a consultative role for the Irish government in the running of the British region.
Since January Irish nationalists Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have failed to reach agreement on re-establishing the devolved administration and the British government has warned it may soon have to step in to rule the province directly for the first time in a decade.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney on Tuesday told journalists in Belfast that if talks to form a power-sharing government failed that “there can be no British-only direct rule,” adding that this was Irish government policy.
He did not give any details of what kind of role he expected for the Irish government, but said “it would be very difficult to even contemplate how direct rule would function in that context.”
In an apparent rebuff to Coveney’s comments, a British government spokesman said in a statement that it would “never countenance any arrangement, such as Joint Authority, inconsistent with the principle of consent in the (Good Friday) Agreement.”
“In the absence of devolved government, it is ultimately for the United Kingdom Government to provide the certainty over delivery of public services and good governance in Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom,” the statement said.


Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

Updated 26 March 2019
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Pakistan’s top court grants bail to former PM Sharif on medical grounds

  • Nawaz Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose his source of income to acquire Al-Azizia Steel Mills

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to release former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail for six weeks to receive medical treatment but said he would not be allowed to leave the country.
Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose the source of income that allowed him to acquire the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia. He has appealed.
The case was heard by a three-judge panel headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
The three-time former premier has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney problems and has been admitted to hospital. A previous bail appeal was rejected last month.
The Supreme Court removed Sharif from office in July 2017 for not disclosing part of a salary drawn from his son’s company and he was later convicted in two separate cases of failing to disclose sources of income.
In one of those cases, over the ownership of upmarket properties in London, the high court granted him bail last September, suspending a 10-year sentence until a final decision on his appeal against the conviction.
The appeal process in both cases is continuing.
Sharif has termed the charges against him politically motivated and accused the military and courts of working together to end his political career and destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.