[Sinn Fein]

10th January 2000

British government fail in its obligations on demilitarisation

Responding to tonight's (Monday's) statement by British Secretary of State Peter Mandelson that he will base the speed and scale of his demilitarisation programme on the advice of the RUC, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP said that the British Government is failing to live up to its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement. Mr Adams said:

``Nationalists are outraged that the British Government has effectively surrendered responsibility for its long overdue demilitarisation programme to such a partisan, sectarian and discredited force as the RUC. A force whose very existence hinges on frustrating meaningful moves towards demilitarising the political situation.

``The RUC has a vested interest in maintaining not only its political and security power base but the financial umbrella for the force and its members' individual lifestyles. It is simply not in the RUC's interest to see progress on demilitarisation.

``Demilitarisation is a political responsibility that cannot be shirked by the British Government. They cannot allow the RUC to dictate political progress.''

Mr Adams also said that the weekend decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to bring charges against RUC officers accused of threatening human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson has left republicans and the nationalist community angry at its failure to grasp the nettle of RUC-loyalist collusion.

``Once again, the system stands accused of protecting state agents from rigourous investigation and accountability.''.

Mr Adams said that the British Government should now accommodate an independent, international inquiry into the role of British Military Intelligence, agents such as Brian Nelson, and the RUC in the deaths of Rosemary Nelson, Pat Finucane and Robert Hamill.

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