[Sinn Fein]

2nd July 2003

International Monitoring Body a sop to Unionism

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has accused the British and Irish governments of pandering to unionism. Mr. McLaughlin said:

``A firm date for the cancelled Assembly elections should be the outcome of today's meetings of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference and between the Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Anything short of this will be a disappointment.

``We need to see political progress. The political process needs to be restarted. The cancellation of elections and the continued absence of political institutions can only undermine confidence in politics.

``the establishment of an International Monitoring Body that is entirely outside of the terms of the Good Friday Agreement would be entirely the wrong focus. The idea of such a body is a sop to unionism and encourages negative unionism in its opposition to equality and inclusivity.

``Instead the two governments should defend the Agreement and demonstrate that politics and the political process is effective.''

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