[Sinn Fein]

28 August 1998

Belfast Agreement Must be Implemented in Full - Sinn Fein

Following the publication of minutes of a meeting between the UUP and the British government Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has accused the UUP of ``deliberately leaking this document in a transparent attempt to force the British and Irish governments to cave in to new Unionist preconditions''.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``This document is further evidence that the UUPs engagement with the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement has been purely tactical. Reg Empey's assertion that his party would not now endorse the agreement and his opposition to the formation of the Executive is a clear breach of the spirit and the letter of the Agreement. His comments indicate that the UUP deliberately misled the electorate during the referendum and Assembly election campaigns, and was never serious about implementing the Agreement.

``It is clear that the UUP is seeking to erect new pre-conditions, or resurrect old ones, in an effort to stall the setting up of the Executive, prevent the implementation of the Belfast Agreement and force a renegotiation of its provisions.

``For our part, Sinn Fein negotiated in good faith and signed up in good faith to the Agreement . We intend to honour our commitments.

``The onus is now on the two governments to ensure that the UUP leader David Trimble honours his commitments and that the timeframe, institutions and political process put in place by the Agreement are delivered quickly and in their entirety.''

Concluding, Mr. McLaughlin also commented on remarks today by Seamus Mallon in which the Deputy First Minister said that it was for the UUP and Sinn Fein to sort out their differences over the Executive. Mr. McLaughlin said:

``As Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon cannot abdicate his responsibilities for the new institutions which are part of the Good Friday Agreement, particularly the creation of the Executive. As Deputy First Minister it is his responsibility to oversee the implementation of the Agreement. He cannot stand back and wash his hands of David Trimble's behaviour, particularly in light of Reg Empey's remarks, nor can he allow David Trimble to set new preconditions which are not part of the Agreement.''ENDS

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