In response to a request for a statement on the current talks process, the DUP issued the following in the name of leader Arlene Foster:
“Since March the DUP has stood ready to re-establish an executive. The decisions by others to block that restoration has led to the talks which have continued over many months.
“We continue to work towards resolving the outstanding issues.
“People will welcome the fact that solid progress has been made but substantial issues remain to be resolved and much more work will be required if we are to reach agreement
“It is vital that we move forward on a basis where one culture or language is not elevated above another in Northern Ireland.
“If we are to build a truly shared future then it must be on an equal footing and not built on a basis of cultural domination.
“That is an approach we have made clear over many months and it remains the case.
“We all should be mindful that whilst issues of language and culture are important, whilst the formation of an Executive remains blocked it remains impossible to have a local input on key issues impacting our health service, education and the range of services which are vital to people’s lives here.
“I am disappointed by some comments from fellow unionists who are not involved in the talks. They should cease from their scare-mongering.
“I well recall the shameful way some tried to frighten people when we were negotiating the return of justice powers to Stormont. Their predictions of doom were proved false back then.
“Unionists know the DUP will stand up for the Union and the identity we all cherish. Those who peddle scare-stories are doing the work of those who oppose the Union.
“The DUP will always do what is in the best interests of Northern Ireland and we will stand strong for the people of NI as we seek agreement that both unionists and nationalists can support.”