14 August 1997
Taking Ownership of the Negotiations
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has urged nationalists to `` take the widest possible ownership of the peace process and not leave it to a high wire act between political parties and the two governments.''
The Sinn Fein President was exclusively to the Andersonstown news on Wednesday and he revealed that Sinn Fein intends establishing ``a process of dialogue with the broad nationalist and republican base so that there can be the widest consultation with people during the talks process.''
Mr Adams said:
The commencement of substantive negotiations on September 15th opens up the potential of moving the peace process toward a democratic peace settlement.
There is a great deal of concern and hope and expectation invested in this process.
Sinn Fein will enter the negotiations as an Irish republican party seeking to promote the broad nationalist objective of;
- an end to British rule in Ireland
- the promotion of the equality agenda which should not even be a matter for negotiation.
- a demilitarisation of the situation, including the release of all political prisoners.
In Sinn Fein's view the issue of sovereignty, the claim of the British government to sovereignty in Ireland, is the key matter which must be addressed in negotiations. So too is the achievement through dialogue among the Irish people of an agreed Ireland. We therefore need to achieve the maximum nationalist unity.
It is my firm view that the process of negotiations should not be limited to a room in Stormont Buildings. Nationalists need to take the widest possible ownership of the peace process and not leave it to a high wire act between political parties and the two governments. Sinn Fein is keen to receive peoples opinions on how the process should be conducted and advanced. We intend to establish a process of dialogue with the broad nationalist and republican base so that there can be the widest consultation with people during the talks process. In the meantime and as our organisation establishes ways to do this at local level I would encourage anyone with view of this to write to us at our Six County Office c/o Secretary 55 Falls Road.''
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