[Sinn Fein]

14 May 1997

President Clinton - A very significant element in search for peace

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams in a post-Westminster election message has assured Ireland's friends in the United States of ``Sinn Fein's total commitment to rebuilding the peace process and achieving a permanent end to conflict and a lasting peace settlement''.

The Sinn Fein President described Tony Blair's election victory as ``creating a unique opportunity to put in place a meaningful process of negotiations. The potential exists for Mr. Blair to play a leadership role in leading the peoples of these islands into a peaceful new millenium.''

Mr. Adams said:

``This new British government has neither the political baggage of the last administration nor is it tied in Westminster by the stranglehold of the unionists.

``Sinn Fein is prepared to work with the Labour government with flexibility and determination to rebuild the opportunity for peace.

``We understand that there is a shared responsibility on all political leaders to seek with urgency and determination to advance the search for peace. We need to reach out to each other in good faith, and through a process of honest dialogue to build confidence where distrust now exists.

``Sinn Fein wants to see the people of the island of Ireland living together in peace and freedom. We believe in national self-determination and Irish republicans recognise that there will be no peace in Ireland if unionists are not part of shaping that peace.

``A permanent peace can only be achieved by creating democratic institutions and a new Irish democracy which has the loyalty and agreement of all sections of our people. I hope we can all now get down to the urgent business and find agreement through a credible process of negotiations. That is my intention.

``A crucial element in all our efforts is the continued active engagement of the United States. President Clinton's courageous actions in 1994 and 1995 contributed immeasurably to the quest for peace. His call following the Westminster election for a redoubling of efforts for peace was a source of encouragement and reassurance for everyone committed to peace in Ireland.

``The willingness of Senator Mitchell to continue with his role, and the expressions of support from members of the House and Senate, both Democrat and Republican, have also reassured the Irish people of the United States commitment to the search for peace.

``The many messages of support and encouragement for Sinn Fein from our friends in Irish-America have also been very welcome.

``We are at another of those moments in our history when the decisions we all take will define our future. The road ahead will be difficult and dangerous and risky for all of us but working together I am convinced that we can succeed. It is my conviction that we will have a peace settlement. With your help we can bring that day forward.''

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