[Sinn Fein]

19 July 1997

New Opportunity for Peace

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has welcomed the IRA's announcement that it has restored the cessation of 1994.

Speaking in Derry, Mr. McLaughlin said:

``I welcome this new initiative on the part of the IRA. It is a momentous and courageous decision, particularly given the history of bad faith which brought down the 1994 cessation.

``This new situation has been brought about through the determination and commitment of republicans and their refusal to be deflected from the task we set ourselves - the building of a democratic peace process.

`` I would like to acknowledge and commend all those who kept faith in the viability of the peace process including those in the unionist community, without whom the possibilities of the peace process would never be realised.

``Making peace is a collective responsibility. It is vital that all those with responsibilities to their communities and those in government act immediately to realise the potential this creates. The hopes and expectations of people throughout Ireland and abroad rest on the willingness of political leaders to move forward into a new era for Ireland free from domination and exclusion.

``Peace threatens no one.

``The other armed groups in Ireland, the British Army, the RUC and the loyalists must cease their attacks on the nationalist community.

``There is still a lot of work to be done. There will be difficult times ahead. The all party talks present their own challenge but republicans willingly face that challenge with strength and confidence. There is a new opportunity for peace.''

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