DUP leader Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein's Martin Mc Guinness have shaken hands for the first time.
Robinson told the Sunday Times that his relationship with McGuinness had become close and personal, Mc Guinness, "very kindly sent me text messages, then voice mail messages and spoke to me privately about the issues."
The heartfelt handshake was revealed by Robinson, "He expressed sympathy to me and put out his hand. I thought it would be wrong of me in those circumstances to do anything other than that [shake it].”
Robinson has temporarily stepped down as Northern Ireland's First Minister. He is currently addressing issues of corruption surrounding his wife's dealings with her teenage lover.
Iris Robinson received over $80,000 on behalf of her teenage lover from two business developers. It is claimed that Peter Robinson knew about the transactions and failed to notify the relevant authorities.
The Robinson affair has led to progress in devolution negotiations. After Robinson temporarily stepped down, hard line unionists were forced to negotiate with Sinn Fein. Both the Sinn Fein and the DUP have being unable to come to an agreement about the devolution of justice and policing in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday Robinson briefed his party about the progress in negotiations and both parties will resume talks tomorrow.
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams is hopeful that an agreement will be reached.
“Our focus has to be to make this work and it is my view that it can be made to work within the context of the Good Friday and St Andrews agreements [peace accords of 1998 and 2006] and that’s where our focus is,” said Adams.
Relations between Mc Guinness and Robinson were traditionally icy. McGuinness had previously had a good relationship with Ian Paisley during their time in office.
Although they were called the "chuckle brothers" they never actually shook hands with each other.
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