[Sinn Fein]

9 September 1996

Talks process deeply flawed

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin commenting on the recommencement of the Stormont talks today said:

``Instead of generating hope and renewing optimism, the Stormont talks have reduced hope and undermined confidence even further. The talks process is deeply flawed and most people now accept that it is incapable of achieving a negotiated settlement.

``Salvaging the opportunity for peace, which Sinn Fein believes still exists, is a burden which rests largely with the British and Irish governments but particularly on Mr. Major and his colleagues.

``The basis for any progress and for a credible talks process must be the adoption by the two governments of an equality ethos and an equality led agenda.

``If the peace process is to be restored it will need a clear decisive political talks process, the primary objective of which is a negotiated settlement. That means inclusive dialogue, with no preconditions and structured within a realistic time-frame. It also means the British government actively seeking to build confidence.''

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