[Sinn Fein]

12 March 1998

Sinn Fein meet British Prime Minister

A Sinn Fein delegation this morning met the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam. Speaking after the meeting Sinn Fein Senior Negotiator Bairbre de Brun said:

``This meeting comes at a critical time in the peace process. It was a good meeting, a positive engagement. We put our views to Mr. Blair in a frank and constructive way.

``We will now reflect on this morning's discussion and report back to our party leadership.

``Sinn Fein is deeply committed to negotiations as the only way of resolving conflict. In our discussion this morning we put to the British Prime Minister our view that what is required is fundamental constitutional and political change.

``We stressed the need for urgent action on demilitarisation, including the release of political prisoners and immediate progress on the equality agenda.

``These are clearly difficult times. Whatever the difficulties involved Sinn Fein wants to overcome them. We will face up to our responsibilities.

Responding to a question Mr. Adams said:

``We are trying to manage a very difficult situation. My own view is that we will seek to go back to the talks at the earliest opportunity. However this is not a decision for me alone. The Sinn Fein leadership will come to this in a positive way.''

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