[Sinn Fein]

3 February 1996

Major should authorise meetings

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams today told the British Prime Minister John Major that ``it is my firm view that the efforts for peace don't have to be put on hold until after the election; that it is still not too late to rebuild a credible peace process and that progress is still possible if John Major is prepared to go the extra mile for peace.''

The Sinn Fein President called on Mr. Major to ``instruct his officials to meet with Sinn Fein and to work through the areas of difference between the proposals put to him by myself and John Hume last October, and his own government's position. And lets see if we can find agreement.''

Mr. Adams said:

``I want us to move forward. Even though John Major appears to have ruled out any forward movement until after the Westminster election I believe that an opportunity to break out of the current impasse still exists. Is it not incredible that in this dangerous and deteriorating situation that anyone should sit back and do nothing. But that is exactly what Mr. Major, who has primary responsibility, has decided to do. This issue cannot be put off until after the election.

``Myself and John Hume were able to put to the British Prime Minister certain propositions on October 10th last year which I believe would have empowered me to go to the IRA and to try and move the situation forward.

``The British government must give the issue of peace in Ireland, of an end to war, a higher priority. I'm prepared to go the extra mile for peace. Is John Major prepared to go that extra mile? Why should an election be more important?

``Let him now take the time to again look over the propositions which he rejected in December. If he isn't happy with what John Hume and I proposed, let him authorise some of his officials to meet with Sinn Fein officials and endeavour to work out the minutiae of what is required. Doesn't that make sense? Isn't the prize of peace in Ireland worth that much effort?'' ENDS

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