[Sinn Fein]

10 April 1998

Sinn Fein focused and engaged

Sinn Fein Party Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking from Castle Buildings this morning said:

``Yesterday morning we gave you an update after our negotiating team had held a review. We did the same yesterday evening. I would now like to give a further update on developments since then.

``In our earlier reviews we pointed out that Sinn Fein has difficulties with the Mitchell 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 earlier pointed out that the Unionists were attempting to tane the substance out of this paper in a number of key area. They succeeded to some degree in Strand Two. This has now been reversed.

``There has also been some other progress. In particular in Strand One, Sinn Fein continues to be opposed to an assembly, nevertheless many of the checks, balances, and safeguards which we argues for during the negotiations, have now been removed.

``So even at this late stage we remain focused and engaged on those negotiations and will continue to work to secure these objectives.

``As we have always stressed and as other successful peace processes prove, a comprehensive package in all issues which removes the cause of conflict is required to secure a lasting peace.

``We will negotiate right uo to the last second. We will then take any package and examine it.''

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