[Sinn Fein]

27th March 2003

Sinn Fein will continue to negotiate in best interests of peace process and our constituents

Sinn Fein Dáil Group leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen would be better served defending the rights of Irish citizens instead of urging Sinn Fein to stop negotiating on behalf of our constituents and in the best interests of the peace process.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``Since December Sinn Fein has been engaged in negotiations with the two governments and the pro-Agreement parties to achieve the full implementation of the Agreement. This work continues. We do not have equality. We do not have human rights. We do not have a new beginning to policing.

``Assertions such as those from Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen, claiming that the negotiations are closed, are in effect an attempt to prevent progress being made on these issues. That is not the Sinn Fein position and it certainly should not be the Irish government position.

``I want to state categorically that Sinn Fein is not giving up on any of the outstanding issues - policing, demilitarisation, equality and human rights. We will continue to work to secure the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.''

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