[Sinn Fein]

12 January 1998

Joint Governmental discussion paper

The following is the text of a statement released by Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin at Castle Buildings Stormont.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``The two governments have put forward a paper for discussion. We will discuss and assess it on the basis of our political analysis, our own proposals and our view that the process needs to move forward urgently.

``Sinn Fein favours Irish unity as do the majority of people on this island. We need to deal with the issues of sovereignty or constitutional change, demilitarisation, prisoners and the whole equality agenda. All of these issues need to be addressed and resolved as part of this process.

``We are faced with increased loyalist killings, at least some of which are being carried out by the Ulster Freedom Fighters/Ulster Defence Association. The withholding of forensics by the RUC to cover this involvement is also a matter of grave concern.

``In addition there is also a widespread and growing concern that outside of the talks process the unionists are being allowed to dictate the pace of events.

``Against this background particularly, any dilution by the two governments of the Framework Document would be, and would be seen to be, the result of unionist and loyalist pressure, which has been applied over the last two weeks. If this proves to be the case, such an approach would encourage further pressure of the same kind and demands for concessions from the unionist and loyalist parties.''

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