[Sinn Fein]

10 April 1998

Adams address to talks press conference

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP

I want to thank and pay tribute to Senator Mitchell, Prime Minister Holkeri and General de Chastelain for their contribution to the negotiating proce and for their unassailable patience throughout.

The presence of An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair clearly created a focus which broke the stalemate. In our view this focus could have brought even greater forward movement and in the months ahead it can deliver further progress.

These have been very difficult and arduous days and nights for all of us, not least those in our negotiating team.

I would like to praise them for their commitment and dedication. They have all worked very hard, under tremendous pressure, asserting the rights of our constituents and in pursuit of our political goals. This is a phase in our struggle. That struggle must continue until it reaches its final goal.

Sinn Fein has a vision of the future. Of an Ireland free from division and conflict. And where all our people can live together in peace. This can be achieved in our lifetime. It is this republican vision which has guided us throughout the years and in particular through the peace process. Indeed this weekend republicans will commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the 1916 Rising, an event that inspired and continues to inspire myself and other republicans.

While the document produced this morning contains elements which are positive, there are others yet to be resolved. So much more has to be done.

I have always made it clear that our negotiating team will go back to the Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) of Sinn Fein. We will assess the document in the context of our peace strategy: Does it remove the causes of conflict? Can it be developed and is it transitional? As in the past we will approach this development in a positive manner.

But for now it is time to draw breath. It is time to reflect. Republicans and nationalists will come to the document with scepticism but also with hope. Is it a new beginning?

Sinn Fein will ask all those questions also. When we have democratically come to a conclusion we will let you know.

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