Sinn Fein has hit back at claims that it had performed an about turn on the return of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation.
The SDLP had accused republicans of changing their position after former Sinn Fein minister Bairbre de Brun said the forum could have a useful role in breaking the political deadlock.
SDLP Assembly member Patricia Lewsley said that the last time it met, Sinn Fein had refused point blank to agree on the principle of consent. "But when they accepted the Good Friday Agreement they accepted consent. Meeting now, the forum could conclude definitively on this issue".
Sinn Fein councillor Paul Butler described Mrs Lewsley's comments as ill-considered and bizarre.
"Sinn Fein played a leading role during the forum discussions. We made a very positive contribution to the forum debates," he said.
The Forum will meet later this month in Dublin under the chairmanship of former top civil servant Maurice Hayes.