[Sinn Fein]

7 April 1997

Sinn Fein pledge is for peace

Sinn Fein North Belfast representative Gerry Kelly, speaking at a constituency meeting today in Ardoyne pledged Sinn Fein's ``absolute commitment to rebuilding the peace process'' and he asserted ``the primacy of inclusive and honest dialogue as the only means by which this conflict can be resolved and a peace settlement achieved.''

Mr. Kelly said:

``The greatest challenge facing the people of this island is to resolve the causes of conflict and agree a negotiated settlement which can bring a lasting and true peace. There is a compelling urgency about this task.

``The only way this can be achieved, and conflict resolution experience around the world is proof of this, is through honest, inclusive dialogue. We need all the representatives, of all the people, sitting around the table on the basis of equality, led by both governments, supported by the international community, talking out our problems and staying at that table until a settlement is hammered out.

``Sinn Fein's pledge in this election to all of the people, irrespective of their political allegiance, is to do everything we can to rebuild the peace process.

``Since the collapse of the peace process the Sinn Fein leadership has been working diligently to create the conditions in which that process can be restored. Despite all the difficulties we are totally committed to that task. All political leaders have to play a full role to create the conditions which will maximise the possibility of securing a democratic and negotiated peace settlement.

``In May last year Sinn Fein received tens of thousands of votes and that democratic mandate was ignored. Excluding nationalists or indeed any section of people is not the way to build trust or create progress.

``This May Sinn Fein will again receive tens of thousands of votes. These cannot be ignored. Inclusive negotiations are the only way forward and the mandates of all parties must be respected.

``Sinn Fein is not seeking preferential or special treatment. But we do insist that those who vote for our party have the right to be fully represented in any process of negotiation.''

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