[Sinn Fein]

19th November 2002

Current crisis most serious since Agreement was achieved - Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, speaking at a press conference in Parliament Buildings Stormont, in advance of all-party talks on Thursday said:

``It is now six weeks since the British government suspended the political institutions. In that time we have seen or heard nothing from the two governments that persuades Sinn Fein that they are dealing with the current crisis with the urgency it deserves.

``The resolution of the current difficulties includes the restoration of the institutions, suspended by the British government under threat from the unionists.

``But this crisis, the most serious since the Good Friday Agreement was achieved in April 1998, is about more than the re-establishment of the institutions.

``The veto exercised by the unionists over the institutions should not have been tolerated by the British or Irish governments. But it was. And more than that the suspension of the institutions for the fourth time by the British government, is a de facto endorsement of Mr.Trimble's position. This is totally unacceptable.

``The democratic imperative has to prevail. That it does not is an indictment of British policy at this time. But it also creates a real and deep concern that the British government plans in the time ahead to seek to renegotiate the Agreement. This has to be prevented.

``This is not about the single issue of the IRA. The British government and the unionists know that there is no possibility of the IRA disbanding in response to ultimatiums or demands.

``This weeks discussions must address the failure of the British government to implement its commitments under the Agreement, as knowledged by Mr. Blair in his recent Belfast speech. This includes the demilitarising of society, as well as the creation of a police service that respects all citizens, is representative of the community it serves, is democratically accountable and is free from partisan political control.

``The Weston Park proposals on policing will not achieve that.

``The negotiations to resolve this crisis will be the mose important since the Agreement.

``Do we believe that these matters and the other issues can be resolved? Yes.

``Will they be resolved during this negotiation? I don't know.

``But none of these matters will be sorted out unless the Good Friday Agreement is implemented, is defended and is promoted. This includes the rights of citizens living in interface areas or in other areas where they are subject to sectarian violence.''

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