[Sinn Fein]

27 August 1997

Trimble Stance Criticised

Sinn Fein Party Chairperson Mitchel Mc Laughlin has urged UUP leader David Trimble to `stop seeking excuses for not talking.'' He also called on the Irish and British governments to ``stick by their commitments not to allow decommissioning to block progress in the talks.''

The Sinn Fein Chairperson was commenting on remarks by the UUP leader about the British and Irish governments joint statement last night on decommissioning.

Mr Mc Laughlin said:

``David Trimble appears to be preparing to dig in behind this issue. This is a tactical move by unionists intended to subvert the potential for political change offered by a meaningful and inclusive process of negotiations.

The responsibility of the two governments is to ensure that this does not happen. Decommissioning has blocked progress for three years. The commitment of the two governments is to removing it as a block- they must stand-by this commitment.''

Mr Mc Laughlin added:

``I am convinced that the vast majority of people, nationalist and unionist, want substantive talks to commence on September 15th. They want this new opportunity for peace to be built upon; they want us to succeed in achieving a total demilitarisation of this conflict and taking the gun forever out of Irish politics; they want an agreement which all of us can support.

``The people who David Trimble has said he is consulting with; the civic section of unionism, the community sector, the social sector, the churches and the business community; are telling us and I'm sure they are telling David Trimble, that they want unionists in the talks and they want this chance for a permanent peace grasped.''

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