[Sinn Fein]

10 February 1997

Adams contacts Major

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams this morning contacted John Major asking him to authorise a meeting between his officials and Sinn Fein representatives.

Mr. Adams said:

``This morning I contacted John Major and asked him to authorise one or two of his officials to meet with one or two Sinn Fein representatives to work out if there is some way of teasing out some way forward.

``Two weeks ago at a business conference Mr. Major said that he had some new ideas about making progress and would bring them forward after the election. Why can't he put them forward now? It is absurd that Mr. Major does not do so now to bridge the gap between the two sides.

``Even now in the teeth of an election, I think it is possible, if Mr. Major has the political will, for us to get together, for people who want to make peace to find some way of bridging the gap between Irish republicans and the British government.

``My view and my position is quite simple - that we should be involved in talks anyway. But in order to deal with the sensitivities of everyone involved, including the Unionists, I am prepared in the first instance to sign up to the Mitchell principles. In the second instance I will use the work John Hume and I are doing to try and bring about a peaceful environment in which these talks can take place.''

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