[Sinn Fein]

19th July 2002

Adams expresses concern over re-definition of IRA cessation

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has expressed concern that Tony Blair's statement next week will see the British Government moving towards the unionist demand that the IRA cessation be redefined. The Sinn Fein President said:

``Whatever about the conditions of any cessation, and Sinn Fein wants to see an end to all violence, the Unionist agenda is to create conditions which will see sanctions taken against Sinn Fein. The motivation for this comes from the inter unionist rivalry not just between the DUP and the UUP but within the UUP itself. And the upcoming UUP selection conventions for next years Assembly elections are the catalyst.

``There are obviously problems within the process but these should be seen as issues to be tackled and resolved within that process. Mr. Trimble boycotting discussions which were called at his behest is hardly a constructive action.

``Neither is the begrudging response from unionism to the number of constructive initiatives by republicans in recent times. These include Belfast Mayor Alex Maskey's initiative on the Somme commemoration, this week's unprecedented IRA apology and the initiative by Fermanagh republicans to deal with unionist sensitivities over a monument to IRA volunteers who were killed in that county.

``The incessant, insatiable demands that unionists have been making of the British government are a product of the inter-unionist rivalry and the crisis that this is creating. But both the British and the Irish governments are fully aware that there can be no breach of the Good Friday Agreement by London without fracturing the entire basis of that Agreement.

``If the Agreement is to work the rights of all sections of the electorate have to be protected and upheld. That includes the rights of the Sinn Fein electorate to elect representatives of their choice. This is not an optional privilege to be upheld or withheld at the behest of any other political party. It is an entitlement which all parties to the Good Friday Agreement are obliged to uphold.

``Sinn Fein set for ourselves and encouraged other parties, including the two governments, the objective of bringing calm to the streets during the summer. By dint of hard work and collective ownership of this problem the period over the 12th has been much quieter than the preceding mouths would have indicated. This is a good thing and the credit must go to those within all sections of the community who worked to bring this about.

``In saying that we are mindful that there are those, as the organised attacks in Ligonel and Newcastle last night demonstrates, who seek the direct opposite as part of an anti-agreement agenda which has the perpetuation of sectarianism as its basis.

``Despite these events the same approach taken over the period of the 12th will work also with other problems. Mr. Trimble must know this. Whatever his difficulties and all party leaders have difficulties, making impossible demands and continuously trying to renegotiate the basis on which the political institutions were established, will only make matters worse. It is long past the time that all the pro-Agreement parties, led by the First Minister, took collective responsibility and instilled confidence in the political institutions.

``Mr. Blair has an opportunity to commence this process next week.''

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