[Sinn Fein]

24th July 2002

Blair must defend Agreement - McGuinness

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness MP speaking in advance of Tony Blair's statement in the House of Commons this afternoon has said:

``What Mitchel McLaughlin has just outlined is the real context of Tony Blair and John Reid's remarks this afternoon. Catholics are being killed, there is a planned orchestrated campaign against catholics and the British government this afternoon appears intent on making remarks, at the behest of David Trimble, which however they are presented, are focused primarily on republicans.

``The Good Friday Agreement is about changing all of this. It is about making conflict a thing of the past. The Agreement is about partnership - partnership between the two governments, partnership in the assembly and executive, partnership on the island and partnership to defend the rights and entitlements of all. That is the primary responsibility of the pro-agreement parties and particularly the two governments.

``What Tony Blair should be saying and doing today is:

``There are elements working actively to undermine the Agreement, including securocrats within the British system. Tony Blair needs to face down rather than pander to these anti-Agreement elements.''

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