[Sinn Fein]

12th April 2003

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness meet Taoiseach and call for Joint Declaration to be made public

Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness speaking following a meeting with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin this morning said:

``This morning Gerry Adams and I met the Taoiseach.  We repeated our view to him that the two governments should now publish the Joint Declaration.

``We also raised the need for a public inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane. There should be no more stalling. The case for this is clear cut. The forthcoming Stevens Report, his third, cannot be permitted to become a barrier to this.

``The Sinn Fein leadership has been engaged in an exhaustive round of meetings in recent weeks determined to resolve the crisis and to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is implemented in full.

``That is what the two governments and the parties collectively agreed five years ago.  That is what the people want.

``Yesterday, we said that our discussions with the two governments on the measures needed to implement the Agreement are now finished.

``There are critical issues which have yet to be properly dealt with - sanctions, no timeframe for the transfer of power on policing and justice, the suspension of the institutions and no commitment from the UUP on sustaining the institutions.

``But in reality the negotiations are concluded.

``There is therefore no excuse, no rational reason for the governments delaying the publication of the plan - their Joint Declaration - setting out how they intend to fully implement the Good Friday in all its aspects.

``Everyone can then respond to that - the political parties, the unionists and ourselves, as well as the armed groups, including the IRA.

``But we should not lose sight of what this is about.  It is about implementing an Agreement that guarantees peoples rights and entitlements.  These are not concessions, to be given or withheld at the behest or veto of anyone else, whether a government, a political party or an armed group.

``The Good Friday Agreement is the property of the people - not the governments and the people have a right to know how the governments plan to implement the Agreement and how the ret of us will respond to it.''

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