[Sinn Fein]

26th February 1999

Adams Urges Support for Peace Process

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking in Sydney this morning, has urged the British government to ``move quickly towards the setting up of the Shadow Executive and the All-Ireland Ministerial Council and other institutions agreed under the Good Friday Agreement''.

Mr. Adams said:

``The March 10 deadline should be met. Failure to transfer power by that date will be a breach of the Agreement and seriously erode confidence in the peace process.''

The Sinn Fein leader was speaking after an early morning meeting with Australian Labour Shadow Foreign Minister Laurie Brereton in Sydney.

The Brereton meeting followed an intense day of meetings in Melbourne during which Mr. Adams met Meg Lees, leader of the Democratic Party, which holds the balance of power in the country, as well as Jeff Kennet Premier of the State of Victory, Victoria Labour opposition Leader John Brumby and Deputy Premier of Victor Pat McNamara, who is leader of the National Party. The Sinn Fein delegation also met Jennie George, President of the Australian Congress of Trade Unions and Mr Adams was given the rare privilege of speaking to the full executive of the ACTU.

Speaking after the meeting with Mr. Brereton the Sinn Fein president said:

``We had a very warm and useful meeting which provided me with an opportunity to brief the Shadow Foreign Minister on the current difficulties in the peace process. I expressed my confidence that if the political will exists, and if we approach these difficulties as problems to be resolved, then we will succeed in moving the process ahead.''

``The Good Friday Agreement is a charter for change. To be successful it requires the two governments, but especially the British government, to fulfil its obligations under the Agreement. This means that within the next days the Shadow Executive and the All-Ireland Ministerial Council and other institutions should be established, and by March 10 the two governments should have devolved power to these institutions.

``Any other outcome will be a clear breach of the Agreement and a betrayal of the 73% of people who voted Yes in last May's referendum.''

As well as meeting Mr. Brereton the Sinn Fein leader expects to speak to the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer before he leaves Australia early next week, and he will also meet Kim Beazley the leader of the country's opposition Labour party.

The Sinn Fein leaders trip has so far been an outstanding success. Every event was packed and the Australian people, their politicians and trade unionists have been very interested, supportive and sympathetic. According to one Australian poll he was the third most mentioned person in the Australian media in the past week.

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