[Sinn Fein]

21 September 1998

Decommissioning is a dead end issue

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP this morning described decommissioning as a `dead end issue'.

Mr. Adams said:

``The peace process has brought us to an important juncture in the evolving relationships between the people of this island. It is a fragile process which needs to be continuously promoted and consolidated if it is to achieve a democratic peace settlement.

``The Good Friday Agreement is an important step along the road to that goal.

``Our immediate priority therefore must be to avoid stalemates, cul-de-sacs, brinkmanship, broken promises or bad faith.

``The decommissioning issue is a cul-de-sac, a dead end issue. It was thoroughly discussed and negotiated during the talks process. The conclusions to those deliberations are contained in the Good Friday Agreement.

``The Good Friday Agreement sets out a clear timetable and chronology in respect to establishing the Executive, the Departmental structures, a fully functional all-Ireland Ministerial council and the Civil Forum. There must be urgent progress on this.

``Under the Agreement there can be no Assembly without these interdependent and interlocking institutions. In other words there needs to be no further delay in forming the Executive and the other structures. This must be done within the timeframe set out by the Agreement.

``The UUP, SDLP, Sinn Fein, Alliance, Women's Coalition, the PUP and the two governments, all gave our word to implement the Agreement in good faith. The DUP and UKUP and elements of the UUP want to wreck it.

``The onus is now on those of us who back the Agreement to keep our word. This principle cannot be dodged, bent or evaded. There must be no bad faith. All political leaders need to keep the commitments they made. Trust can only be created by keeping promises not renegotiating them.''

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