[Sinn Fein]

21st April 1999

Membership of PfP must be put to referendum

Sinn Fein's European candidate for Dublin Seán Crowe has called on the government to live up to its commitment to hold a referendum regarding membership of Partnership for Peace. Mr. Crowe said:

``Sinn Fein is committed to the maintenance of positive neutrality and an independent foreign policy both in a 26 County context and in a future 32 county state. Sinn Fein believes we should:-

The PfP is a front organisation, initiated, managed and controlled by NATO. No organisation linked with NATO can have any credibility in the area of peace-keeping. NATO has carried out attacks on countries of the former Yugoslavia in violation of international law and without reference to the United Nations.

NATO bombings are most definiteley not the solution to the complex political crisis in the Balkans.

Sinn Fein believes the bombings should stop and determined efforts for a peaceful, negotiated settlement, under the auspices of the United Nations, should be redoubled.

The 26 Counties is already a member of a real partnership for peace - it is called the United Nations. Ireland has enjoyed a unique position on the international stage as a neutral state within Europe. Our history and our neutral status has given us a special facility for real peace-keeping and conflict resolution. Ireland's credibility as a neutral country would be fatally damaged if we joined NATO's `Partnership for Peace'.

Sinn Fein intends to put the vital question of Irish neutrality to the centre of this election campaign.

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