After sixteen hours of talks at Stormont still no sign of a breakthrough in attempts to form a Northern Ireland Executive.

In May 1999 Prime Minister Tony Blair had set an "absolute deadline" of 30 June for agreement on the formation of an executive in Northern Ireland. As that deadline has now passed, the talks continue.

Shortly after 3.30 am, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Northern Ireland politicians left Stormont for a break with plans to resume talks at midday. 

Before the midnight deadline had expired, it appeared that some progress had been made with both governments satisfied that Sinn Féin had moved their position on decommissioning.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams made an emotional appeal to his own constituency and to the Ulster Unionists. He acknowledged that suffering had been experienced on both sides but appealed for cooperation to move forward for peace.

We want to leave that behind us and to move forward together to have harmony and to have justice and to have freedom on this island.

One unionist party source said that the unionists were not interested in words. They wanted product.

Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble said that his party would not agree to the proposed timetables for decommissioning of three to six months after the formation of an executive.

Those proposals are simply not in the real world at all.

While no resolution has yet been reached David Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, is hopeful that the talks will continue given the high stakes. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 July 1999. The reporter is Michael O'Kane.