Martin McGuinness has said that any decision to meet Queen Elizabeth on her jubilee visit to Northern Ireland later this month would depend on the likely impact on the peace process. Observers say it seems more likely than ever that he will agree to an historic meeting.
“Any decision that I am part of will be about ensuring that that decision will enhance the peace process and not in any way damage it,” said the North Deputy's First Minister, according to the Irish Times.
“And let me say also that I have tremendous respect for the desires and wishes of the unionist population in the North to be part of Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee celebrations.”
He added: “Nothing that I will do, nothing that I will say, will be done in any way to undermine the incredible progress that we’ve made, not just in the North but throughout this island.”
The language McGuinness used seems to indicate a stronger desire on the part of the former IRA leader to meet the queen and create a new dimension to the Irish peace process.
Sinn Fein have already stated how glad they were that the Queen acknowledged Irish Republicanism during a visit to the Garden of Remberance in Dublin last year and her brief use of the Irish language during a speech at Dublin Castle
Prime Minister Enda Kenny said it was not for him to interfere in decisions taken by another political party, but said, "We have to live in the future."
The British monarch will visit Northern Ireland on June 26 and 27th.