::: u.tv :::

Don't pander to unionist intransigence, urges Adams

MONDAY 27/09/2004 16:30:11

Gerry Adams today urged the British government to abandon attempts to woo Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists into a peace deal and press ahead with troop cuts in Northern Ireland.
By:Press Association

The Sinn Fein president insisted London and Dublin had spent long enough working on the DUP and should begin moves on a military scale-down.

Still smarting over the failure to restore power sharing in Belfast during the Leeds Castle summit in Kent, when it seemed unprecedented IRA disarmament was on the table, he claimed unionists should not be allowed to grasp for other excuses to avoid a settlement.

Mr Adams said: "Every time there appears to be movement on one issue, for example the whole big issue was around the IRA, every time there appears to be some ability to resolve these issues then they (DUP) move on to some other issue.

"They`re obviously playing for time and our position is that they should not be allowed to do that.

"This phase of pandering to DUP intransigence needs to end."

Although demands for IRA disbandment which have bedevilled the Northern Ireland peace process ever since the Good Friday Agreement was signed six years ago appeared to have been sorted out at the talks chaired by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the whole package stalled over how the Stormont Assembly would function.

The DUP, which has pledged to transform the April 1998 Good Friday accord, wants Cabinet Ministers to be more accountable to the 108 members of the Belfast Parliament.

Both Sinn Fein and the nationalists SDLP have fiercely resisted the move, even though they are desperate to see power sharing restored following a two year break over allegations that the IRA was running an espionage plot inside the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr Adams insisted any momentum from the three-day talks in Kent has not been followed up and called for the two governments to move on.

Despite accepting that as the biggest unionist party in Northern Ireland the DUP could refuse to sit in any coalition cabinet, the Sinn Fein leader demanded action on other outstanding parts of the peace package.

"In terms of political institutions the DUP can refuse to participate and by their absence make that part of the Agreement very difficult," the West Belfast MP accepted.

"But the DUP really have no say on issues which are the responsibility of the governments.

"On all these issues, whether it`s equality and human rights, whether it`s demilitarisation or whether it`s justice then the governments should move ahead and they should make it clear to the DUP that the Good Friday Agreement is going to prevail."

Challenged over whether this would include signing off on IRA decommissioning as well, Mr Adams stressed that all armed groups would have to be part of the agreement.

"The reality is you need an overall political agreement in an overall process of sustainable change," he said.

"As far as I`m concerned all of these issues need to be tackled."

His demands intensified pressure on the DUP after SDLP leader Mark Durkan earlier urged Mr Blair and Mr Ahern to call their bluff by triggering power sharing moves.

Accusing Mr Paisley`s party of failing to engage properly during the Leeds Castle talks, Mr Durkan said both governments needed to resist any attempt to radically rewrite the Agreement.

"The SDLP engaged intensively in the talks," the Foyle Assembly member said.

"Nobody put forward more proposals than we did. Yet in response throughout all the negotiations we got nothing on paper back from the DUP.

"The time has now come to call the DUP`s bluff.

"The two governments should recall the assembly and end suspension now. Then we can see who is for real and who is really causing the problems."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?