The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has told the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, that his objective in relation to policing in the North was to ensure cross-community recruitment to the new police service. Neither of the two leaders made any comment after nearly two hours of talks at Downing Street. A spokesman for the Government said that both governments have identified a small number of remaining issues, and that officials will meet again in September with a view to moving forward.

He added that both leaders welcomed the recent arms seizure in Croatia, and acknowledged the good level of co-operation between the security forces on both sides of the border. He said that the Taoiseach stressed public support for dissident Republican groups, a topic raised by Mr Blair, remained marginal. Mr Ahern also welcomed the removal of the British Army watchtower in Crossmaglen in south Armagh. The Taoiseach understands the demolition work will be completed by August 8.

Last week, the Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue, and Home Secretary, Jack Straw, met in Europe, while the Garda Commissioner, Pat Byrne, and RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, met in Dublin.