[Sinn Fein]

24th April 2002

Sinn Fein position vindicated

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking following the meeting of the US Committee on International Relations said:

``Today's hearing in Washington has vindicated Sinn Fein's position that we have no case to answer in respect of the allegations levelled against our party.

``I welcome Chairman Hyde's acknowledgement of Sinn Fein's contribution to the long struggle for peace and justice and that he also accepts my statement that neither I nor the Sinn Fein leadership were aware that the three men were travelling to Colombia.

``I am concerned that an account of seperate discussions between myself and Martin McGuinness and the Investigating Council of the Committee does not appear to have been included in the report. Neither was his assertion to us that British government representatives pressed for the hearing.

``While my political instinct was to go to today's hearing a primary reason for my decision not to go was the concern of the lawyers of the Colombia 3 that the hearings could be prejudicial to a fair trial. This concern has been fully justified. These three men should be sent home.''

Gerry Adams went on to say that he will be meeting with David Trimble in the next few days. He said that the Sinn Fein approach to this meeting would be to focus on steadying the process.

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