[Sinn Fein]

9 August 2001

Unionist leadership failing to grasp opportunities

Sinn Fein Chief Whip Alex Maskey speaking today has welcomed the statement from the IRA as confirmation of their commitment to the search for a lasting peace.

Mr. Maskey said:

In the space of a week we have had an historic determination from the IICD that the IRA have put forward a proposal that initiates a process that will put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use  and a statement from the IRA.

Despite the rejection of this breakthrough report from the IICD by David Trimble, today s statement from the IRA is confirmation, if any was needed, of their commitment to the search for a lasting peace.

The rejection by David Trimble of these two hugely significant steps is an enormous mistake.  David Trimble s failure to grasp the opportunity created by the IICD s determination and his introduction of a new precondition on policing demonstrates that the UUP leadership has a problem with the entire political process.

David Trimble set out his objective of creating crisis and suspension of the institutions last October.  We need to reflect on what this approach can achieve.

There is a responsibility on everyone who signed up to the Good Friday Agreement, but particularly the British government to defend the Agreement and move the situation forward.

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