[Sinn Fein]

29 March 2000

Onus on the British government - Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking this morning at a press conference in Belfast hosted by the Party leadership said:

``The Sinn Fein leadership wants to give our considered position on the current situation.

The weekend decisions by the UUP, including the conference's unanimous backing for a new pre-condition linking the retention of the RUC title to any re-instituted Executive, has underlined the UUP's rejection of the Good Friday Agreement.

At its most basic the differences within unionism is about how to resist change. It is about unionism being unable to cope with the need for equality and justice, or with the reality that nationalists and republicans have rights and entitlements.

For some, it is about not wanting a Catholic about the place, or being prepared to tolerate Catholics but only on unionist terms.

The weekend events are also a consequence of a failure of leadership.

David Trimble was a reluctant partner to the Good Friday Agreement.

At no time did he embrace the spirit or the letter of the Agreement. Instead throughout the last 22 months he sought to delay, dilute and to undermine the Agreement and the process of change which it involves. A process that the vast majority of people on this island, including those within the unionist section of our people, voted for in May 1998.

Neither is it possible to divorce events at the UUP conference from the decision in February by Peter Mandelson to collapse the institutions.

As I warned at the time, both privately to Mr. Mandelson and publicly, the British government is not a referee but a major player in this situation. Consequently the decision to collapse the institutions has strengthened rejectionist unionism.

It is our firm view that if this crisis is to be ended then the British government must move quickly to re-establish the institutions and restore confidence in a process that it has severely damaged.

That must include moving ahead on policing, setting down a clear and definitive programme for demilitarisation, and in general moving ahead with the full implmentation of all of those aspects of the Good Friday Agreement over which it, and the Irish government, have direct control.''

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