[Sinn Fein]

15 March 1998

US goodwill for meaningful dialogue

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking from Washington said:

``There is an extraordinary focus and enormous goodwill in the US on the potential for agreement in Ireland, Irish America, the US President, his administration and the Congress are all eager for a deal.

``The onus therefore is clearly on the British and Irish Governments and all of the parties to enter urgently and in good faith into real and meaningful dialogue around substantive issues.

``Expectations and hopes are high on both sides of the Atlantic. But any potential for progress risks falling at the first hurdle if the UUP leader David Trimble, does not accept the imperative of speaking to Sinn Fein.

``Sinn Fein is absolutely committed to negotiations as the means resolving this conflict and our differences. A political agreement and a process of reconciliation is only possible if the equality principle underpins the negotiation process and is accepted by the participants.

``Leaving aside all the other substantive issues, the unionist leadership has so far refused to accept equality or the necessity for talking to find agreement.''

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