[Sinn Fein]

15th June 1999

Good Friday Agreement is Binding - Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP, accompanied by party colleagues Martin McGuinness MP, Assembly representative Bairbre de Brun and Councillors Chrissie McAuley, Sean McKnight and Tom Hartley today attended the Jubilee 2000 event at Belfast City Hall. They were there to support the demand for the scrapping of third world debt.

Speaking to the media afterwards Mr. Adams commented on today's speech by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Adams said:

``I welcome the fact that Mr. Blair made a number of things clear. Specifically, I welcome his assertion that we must return to the Good Friday Agreement. That is the binding agreement that we all made in April 1998. I welcome his statement that there are no preconditions to the establishment of the Executive and that June 30th is a real deadline.

``I hope Mr. Blair's comments will create a new focus that will drive us through the next phase of negotiations toward agreement by June 30th.

I also welcome his acknowledgement of the need for a resolution of the Drumcree situation. The siege of the people of the Garvaghy Road must be lifted. It is important to remember that the conditions of the nationalist people of Portadown have significantly worsened since the Good Friday Agreement was made''

``We are entering a crucial period. Sinn Fein wants to resolve the current difficulties and move the process forward.

``The Unionists cannot forever hold up progress. If they fail to rise to the challenge, and if they succeed in blocking the establishment of the institutions, then the governments have to implement all other aspects of the Agreement.

``If unionists believe that they can prevent the implementation of the equality agenda the governments must make clear that they cannot. We still need a new policing service, new anti-discrimination laws, the Human Rights Commission, progress on the demilitarisation and justice agendas, and the release of political prisoners. These aspects of the Good Friday Agreement must be progressed.

``Sinn Fein will approach the next two weeks of negotiations with a determination to see the full implementation of the Agreement in all its aspects.''

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