18 March 1998
Unionists attempting to introduce more preconditions into peace process
Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has accused David Trimble of attempting to introduce more preconditions into the peace process.
Mr. McLaughlin said:
``David Trimble's claim that he told President Clinton that he would not meet directly with Sinn Fein until such time as our party meets his shopping list of preconditions including his definition of consent and the Heads of Agreement Document shows how out of step he is with political reality.
``Mr. Trimble will have to realise that there is not the slightest possibility of reaching a settlement without Sinn Fein's full participation in direct negotiations. Not only is David Trimble misreading the necessity for Sinn Fein to be party to any agreement but I believe that he is seriously misreading the mood of his own people.
``As we approach the target date set by the two governments what is required is political courage from our leaders. To date David Trimble has failed to display that courage. He has failed to do what he and his party were elected to do at the `Elections to Negotiations' - Negotiate.
``I call on the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair to take his responsibility seriously and inform Mr. Trimble that unless the Unionists engage earnestly in negotiations with all of the parties the British government will negotiate with nationalist Ireland on their behalf.''
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