[Sinn Fein]

11th February 2000

Breakthrough Proposition Achieved - Adams

The President of Sinn Fein Gerry Adams MP has revealed that ` a proposition' to resolve the arms issue has emerged out of the recent days of intense discussions.

Mr. Adams described the proposition as a `major breakthrough' and he has urged the UUP leader David Trimble to join with him and the two governments and the other pro-agreement parties in moving speedily to rebuilding public confidence in, and re-energising the political institutions.

Mr. Adams said:

``In the last 24 hours I and Martin McGuinness have spoken to David Trimble, the leader of the UUP, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the British Secretary of State Peter Mandelson, a range of officials, as well as the IRA.

``This work is the culmination of almost two weeks of intense, exhaustive discussions during which I spoke to all of the key players in this situation.

``Out of this shuttle diplomacy there has now emerged a new and significant proposition to resolve the arms issue.

``At the core of this proposal the IRA sets out the context in which it will deal with the issue of arms. The Sinn Fein concern is to see this issue settled in such a way as to ensure maximum public confidence in the process and resolve the issue of arms in a complete way.

``When set alongside the IRAs recent assertion that the peace process is under no threat from it and that its guns are silent, this new development takes on an enormous significance and can, if there is political will and good will, finally resolve this matter.

``If the British Secretary of State is concerned to achieve this outcome he should immediately and unconditionally rescind the legislation to suspend the institutions and Mr. Trimble should withdraw his resignation.

``I anticipate a positive De Chastelain report that will reflect this development and I believe this will clear the way to end this crisis.

``Can I say that as far as Sinn Fein is concerned we were only prepared to pursue this on the basis that the issue of arms will finally be disposed of, and whatever the outcome of that effort, this issue must no longer be used as a block on progress within the peace process.''

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