Irish American Information Service


09/08/04 06:58 EST

Sinn Féin leader, Mr Gerry Adams, has sent a clear warning to Democratic Unionists that progress in Northern Ireland cannot be made with the dissolution of the Belfast Agreement.

Sounding distinctly pessimistic about the prospect of a breakthrough at next week's peace talks at Leeds Castle in Kent, Mr Adams said he was not hopeful of a deal given the DUP's position on the Agreement.

He said it was important to remember that the DUP was about "destroying" the Belfast Agreement.

Speaking outside Government Buildings in Dublin ahead of a meeting with the Taoiseach this morning, Mr Adams said "the DUP are saying that even if the IRA disband, the DUP would still not sit down with Sinn Féin for at least a year".

He said: "We want to see a comprehensive deal which brings all of the outstanding issues to a definitive closure. But all we have been hearing is partial deals, delayed deals or deals over very long periods. We don't want that."

"The overall strategy for a process of change is destroyed if there is no progress and that would be dreadful," he said.

Mr Adams, who was accompanied by Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Mr Martin McGuinness and MLA Mr Gerry Kelly, said those who believed progress can be made with the destruction of the Agreement "were kidding themselves".

However he welcomed Mr Peter Robinson's support for a peace fund and said the deputy DUP leader's decision to speak in Dublin represented some progress.

In his first major address in the Republic, Mr Robinson called for a "peace fund" to be set from savings in security spending that would follow a political deal in the North.

The Sinn Féin leader said he supported the idea of a peace fund to develop the economy in the North and to invest in those who have suffered from inequality.

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