[Sinn Fein]

14 February 1996

Sinn Fein meets US Congressional delegation

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Vice President Pat Doherty this evening met a delegation of US Congress members led by Congressman Ben Gilman, Chair of the powerful House International Relations Committee. Mr. Adams thanked the delegation for the opportunity to brief them and praised them for their ``long-standing, consistent and even-handed support for peace and justice in Ireland.

Mr. Adams assured the delegation of Sinn Fein's ``total commitment to democratic and peaceful means of resolving this conflict and of our commitment to dialogue and to a lasting peace settlement. Mr.Adams also took the opportunity to discuss economic matters with them including the role of the International Fund for Ireland.

Responding to questions Congressman Gilman said:

``I think it is extremely important that all parties be seated at the table in peace talks and we certainly do accept that Mr. Adams is the bone fide representative for 15% of the population at the last vote taken. I think he is a credible party to the peace talks and I think he should be made part of the peace talks''.

Mr. Adams concluded:

``I think you can see here quite clearly the difference between an open door policy, an inclusive policy and a closed door policy. These Congress members came from the USA and talked to all the parties. The British don't.

``I think that even by example these discussions help to move the situation forward. Clearly, what is required is an inclusive process which is even handed and based on equality. That is what is lacking at the moment.''

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