Martin McGuinness has vowed that he guarantees the right of any Northern Ireland citizen to their British identity.
But the Deputy First Minister said he expects the same respect to be given to those who see their identity as Irish.
Mr McGuinness was speaking at a Sinn Fein Youth Conference at the weekend, and told the crowd gathered that the issues currently facing people here “will not be resolved on the streets or at the front of city hall on a Saturday afternoon.”
The issue of identity is one Mr McGuinness said has been “quite cynically used by some to promote their own narrow sectarian agenda”.
The politician said: “I will absolutely guarantee the right of any citizen here to their British identity,” he said.
“All I ask in return is for the same respect and recognition to be given to my Irishness.
“For too long we have approached issues of identity as wins or losses for one community over another.
“That is not sustainable going froward.”
Seemingly referring to unionist leaders he added: “There is a better way to do business. We must return to the basics of the Good Friday Agreement.”