[Sinn Fein]

9 April 1998

Tony Blair must lead the change

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking at Castle Buildings this morning said:

``Sinn Fein met this morning to review rge situation. We will be meeting the two governments later. We thought we should give you an outline of our view at this time.

``As you know we have already pointed out that we have difficulties with this document.

``The core issues are British constitutional change, the proposed nature and power of All-Ireland Institutions and the need to remove the unionist veto in institutions in all three strands. The issues of policing and prisoners are also critical. We have prepared and submitted amendments and texts on these and other areas of difficulty. We have approached this paper in the basis of constructive engagement.

``The Unionists' problem is in relation to the substance of the paper. It is not a matter of presentation. They are opposed to the entire direction of it.

``They want to undo all the work that has been done here in the recent past. That mindset is at the nub of the current impasse. Rather than move forward, they want to move back.

``The two governments and the rest of us must be clear that this can't happen. The peace process needs forward movement.

``People throughout the island and internationally are watching events unfold here in Castle Buildings and are willing the participants to find agreement.

``We are conscious of the hope and expectation which exists and the responsibility which this places on all of us. Conflict resolution is a shared responsibility.

``As I have said already, I will be meeting with the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. I will also be meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. I will impress on him that he must play a leadership role in persuading David Trimble to become part of the change that is coming.

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