[Sinn Fein]

25 July 1997

Adams meets Ahern and Hume in Government Buildings

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking after the meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and SDLP leader John Hume at Government Buildings this morning said:

``There is a new opportunity for peace. It has been a long, difficult, often frustrating and dangerous task to get to this point. We have confounded those who pronounced the peace process dead and disappointed those who wanted it to die.

``The IRA's decision to call the cessation is particularly courageous given the legacy of bad faith which followed its 1994 initiative.

``It is important for those of us in political leadership to consolidate this new opportunity and to build upon it to create a democratic peace settlement.

``This presents new challenges for everyone. The work for peace starts now. There needs to be movement on the equality agenda. There needs to be immediate movement in the area of demilitarisation. The release of prisoners will have a strong and positive effect within their communities.''

In response to questions, Mr. Adams said:

``The two governments have given commitments that real and substantive negotiation, on all the core issues, will begin on September 15th. Sinn Fein wants to see all the parties there.

``As Irish republicans we will go into these negotiations with our republican analysis. We will listen also to those who have the opposite view.''

When asked if this morning's meeting would be seen an provocative by Unionists, Mr. Adams said:

``The key to a democratic settlement is that it be inclusive, that means equality. Sinn Fein represents citizens in both states on this island. Those people have the right to have their views represented alongside all the other parties.

``Who could be afraid of talking ? Why should Unionists be afraid to sit down at the table ? The desire of the vast majority of the people on this island, including Unionists, is that their leaders lead. That is what Sinn Fein is going to do.''

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