[Sinn Fein]

19th December 2001

Attwood criticism of Cuba trip - juvenile posturing

Sinn Fein Chief Whip Alex Maskey MLA has accused SDLP Chairperson Alex Attwood of `juvenile posturing' in his criticisms of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams' trip to Cuba.

Mr Maskey said:

``Alex Atwood's criticism of Gerry Adams and Gerry Kelly visiting Cuba and meeting Fidel Castro is nothing more than juvenile posturing.

``In Europe, his sister parties and the Irish government have backed the ending of America's blockade against the people of Cuba. So he is clearly out of step with broad humanitarian concerns that exists throughout Europe.

``He attacks Sinn Fein for meeting Fidel Castro while his party is meeting the UDA. We ourselves have offered to talk to Loyalists on a number of occasions and the process of talking is vital to understanding and resolving all political conflicts.

``To jump on the band wagon in a blatant case of politicking is to do a great disservice to the principle of engagement that is central to the Good Friday Agreement that was negotiated by all of the parties here, including by members of his own party.''

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