DUP to blame for stalled peace, says SF

13/11/2004 - 14:08:37

The peace process has stalled due the Democratic Unionists undermining the principles of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin claimed today.

Sinn Féin’s Mitchel McLaughlin said that as the first anniversary of the Assembly election approached both the Irish and British governments must act to ensure the peace process evolves by demonstrating power sharing in practice.

“They must ensure that the approach adopted by the DUP is not allowed to stall the process of change any longer,” Mr McLaughlin said at a meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle on the progress of the peace process.

“The process has stalled at the present time because the DUP are in a crisis of confidence in their own ability to lead unionism.”

As the Ulster Unionists held their annual conference in Co Down, Mr McLaughlin said that Sinn Féin was prepared to be patient as long as both Governments made an assertive defence of the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.

He said: “Unionists have showed that they are incapable at this point in time to step forward and make an executive.”

At the Ulster Unionists conference, leader David Trimble said the British Prime Minister Tony Blair had missed the opportunity at the Leeds Castle talks to find out exactly what the Provisionals were prepared to do to revive power sharing at Stormont.

He also accused the DUP of conceding to Sinn Féin in the transfer of policing and justice powers to a Stormont Executive.

Mr McLaughlin retorted: “Leeds Castle was in many ways a rerun of the negotiations we had with David Trimble himself in April of last year and then in October, he walked away from that deal and I think was punished accordingly in the subsequent assembly elections.

“If this is David Trimble working out a recovery strategy for his party then I have to say that I am not particularly impressed.

“They way forward for us all is for those people who say they are pro-agreement to demonstrate that in their approach to these negotiations.”

Mr McLaughlin said that the DUP’s deputy leader Peter Robinson’s comments on ensuring the IRA’s decommissioning was “visual” could be addressed under the appropriate sections of the Agreement.

“Sinn Fein won’t shift the goalposts, we say use the section of the Good Friday Agreement, use your influence as we have used and we will continue to use our influence,” Mr McLaughlin said.

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