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Coastal GasLink to pause work as talks begin between hereditary chiefs, ministers

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet with federal government after ‘miscommunication’
WATCH: Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs to meet with federal government after 'miscommunication'

Coastal GasLink has announced it is pausing production for two days in the area of Morice River near Houston, B.C.

A statement by the company on Thursday said the decision was made in order to “facilitate dialogue between the Hereditary Chiefs and government representatives.”

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Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have meetings confirmed on Thursday and Friday with federal and B.C. ministers of Indigenous relations.

READ MORE: First day of meetings between ministers, Wet’suwet’en chiefs wraps up on positive note

Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett arrived in Smithers, B.C. Thursday morning, and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser was due to arrive later the same day.

The hereditary chiefs have said they agreed to the meeting after the RCMP agreed to halt all patrols on a contentious forest service road and shut down a mobile detachment in the area. They have also said Coastal GasLink had agreed to suspend operations.

Small business owners say Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades costing them
Small business owners say Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades costing them

The two-day pause is expected to begin once talks commence, Coastal GasLink said in the statement Thursday afternoon.

“We fully support the efforts of all parties and are committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the current issues,” the statement said.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say meeting with feds back on after ‘miscommunication’

The company added that the Morice River area is “extremely important” to their construction schedule.

“However, Coastal GasLink recognizes the importance of dialogue in solving the issues of the Hereditary Chiefs and will provide time for dialogue to occur by temporarily pausing construction in the Morice River area.”

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— With files by Global News reporter Simon Little