[Sinn Fein]

16th June 2003

UUP must accept process of change

Speaking tonight following the meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council, South Belfast Sinn Fein Representative Cllr. Alex Maskey said:

``There is little basis for optimism in tonight's meeting. The fact is that David Trimble is an increasingly reluctant participant in the peace process. He moved publicly and decisively onto anti-Agreement positions at the last UUC meeting on September 20th. His platform for tonight's meeting was to consolidate that. Tonight's meeting was not about whether to reject the Joint Declaration, it was about when to reject it.

``The outcome is a symptom of unionism's inability to deal with change. Unionism and the UUP in particular are not willing to accept the changes which should and must flow from the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

`` The onus remains on the two governments and particularly the British government to implement the many outstanding aspects of the Agreement. This is the only way forward.

``The British government and the political leadership of unionism must realise that nationalists will not accept second class citizenship and that the Agreement is not going to be renegotiated. Unionism should engage with Sinn Fein and the other parties in managing change, instead of continually attempting to subvert and disrupt that process.'' ENDS

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