[Sinn Fein]

14th March 2003

Adams rejects sanctions

Agreement must be implemented in full

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP is in Chicago this evening where he is speaking at a series of events marking St. Patrick's Day. Addressing the Chicago International Council on Foreign Relations today Mr. Adams spoke at length on the challenges facing the peace process in Ireland. He said:

``Despite the obvious and understandable preoccupation of people in the United States with the international crisis surrounding Iraq there remains a real and deep rooted commitment to Ireland and the search for peace.

``In my 48 hours here, in Washington and Chicago, I have met the US Ambassador Richard Haas, as well as range of senior Senators, Congress Members, Trade Union and business leaders. All of them support our efforts to restore the political institutions and see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

``There is also a widespread recognition that the serial crises in the process have arisen primarily because of opposition by political unionism and elements of the British system to the changes promised by the Agreement. The growth of Sinn Fein and the emphasis and importance we place on Irish unity also explains much of this opposition.

``Even while some of the Sinn Fein leadership is here in the United States colleagues continue to engage with both governments and the Ulster Unionist Party. Our focus is to try and close the gap on issues like policing, demilitarisation, human rights and equality. 

``Substantial progress has already been made but the remaining issues have to be resolved, including the proposed unacceptable imposition of sanctions, outside the terms of the Agreement, against this party. 

``The British governments role in all of this is crucial. So too is that of the Ulster Unionist Party. Republicans and nationalists need to be confident that the institutions will no longer be interrupted at the whim of unionism. The UUP needs to be serious about the Agreement. Unionism needs to be serious about living up to its obligations.''

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