[Sinn Fein]

16th August 1999

Politics must work

Statement from Mid Ulster MP, Martin McGuinness, outlining Sinn Fein's position in advance of tomorrow's meeting with Mo Mowlam.

Mr. McGuinness said:

``The events at the weekend on the Ormeau Road and in Derry highlight the ongoing crisis in the peace process. What is evident is the political vacuum created by the failure of politics to deliver the changes promised in the Good Friday Agreement.

``The British government is ultimately responsible for the political mess we are in because they have failed to implement the agreement. The decision by the Parades Commission was not only wrong, it contradicts a central principle of the Good Friday agreement, the right to live free from sectarian intimidation.

``It is clear to me that on the issue of marches by the loyal orders it is the human rights of the residents which are primary. Their rights must come before the marching rights. It is not about addressing two sets of competing equal rights. The events at the weekend must once and for all end this policy of forcing marches through areas where they are not welcome.

``The next few weeks will be critical. I am appealing to unionists to end their cold war with nationalists and embrace the changes in the Good Friday Agreement. That is the only way forward. The core of this process is to establish the primacy of politics and to show that politics can and does deliver.''

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