[Sinn Fein]

October 22th 2002

McGuinness thanks US for their strong support for full implementation of Agreement

Britain's commitment to face down those opposed to changes promised in Agreement questioned

Speaking after his meeting with US Ambassador Richard Haas at the State Department in Washington today Martin McGuinness MLA said:

``I thanked Ambassador Haas and the American administration for their strong support for the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

``I stressed to Ambassador Haas that the dangerous vacuum that has been created by the British Governments suspension of the institutions must be filled with positive political developments.

``There is an urgent necessity for the full and faithful implementation of the Agreement. The Irish and British Government have unequivocally stated that the Good Friday Agreement cannot and will not be renegotiated.

``On this basis they must move decisively to bring all the political leaders, pro and anti agreement, together to seek and urgent resolution of the present crisis.''

He continued: ``The suspension of the institutions by the British government has caused great unease with the Republican / Nationalist constituency.

``For this to happen at the insistence of the Ulster Unionist Party which opposes the Good Friday Agreement on many different fronts has deepened concern amongst supporters of the agreement and raises a question mark over the British Governments commitment to face down those opposed to the changes promised in the Agreement.

``Tony Blairs speech last week in Belfast in which he conceded his own failure to fully implement the Good Friday Agreement amazingly contained no acknowledgement of the obstructionism adopted towards the Agreement by Unionist leaders and others within the British establishment.

``This obstructionism has marked the history of the Agreement for the past four years. Across a range of issues, implementation of the Agreement has been slowed down and impeded and attempts to define the present crisis around one issue is both unacceptable and dishonest.''

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