[Sinn Fein]

20 June 2000

Martin McGuinness in Washington DC

US Congress Human Rights Committee to discuss implementation of Patten police proposals

Sinn Fein's Chief Negotiator, Martin McGuinness, today (Tuesday) met members of the United States Congress in Washington DC to discuss the implementation of the Patten Report on Policing.

It was announced today that the House Sub-Committee on Human Rights is to hold a series of hearings on the implementation of the Patten Report.

The Chairperson of the House Sub-Committee on Human Rights, Congressman Chris Smith, reminded everyone that the Patten recommendations are ``a floor, not a ceiling'' for police reform.

The US politicians discussed a letter from Congressman Richard Neal to Peter Mandelson. The letter expressed Congressman Neal's belief that ``the people have spoken with one clear and unambiguous voice in this important matter. Their message is simple - the Patten report should not be diluted or altered by the British Government. In the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, it must be implemented in full. We strongly agree.''

The letter will be signed by all nine members of Congress at the meeting.

Present at the meeting were Congress members Peter King, Benjamin Gilman, Richard Neal, Chris Smith, Joseph Crowley, Martin Meehan, Michael Capuano, James Walsh and Carolyn McCarthy.

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