[Sinn Fein]

1 October 1998

Decommissioning used to obstruct

Statement from Sinn Fein Assembly Member Gerry Kelly on the continued use of the decommissioning issue as a ``blocking device'' to prevent further progress in the peace process.

Mr. Kelly said:

``The decommissioning issue has been used as a blocking device since the inception of the peace process. At every critical juncture, the first IRA cessation, the commencement of inclusive negotiations and now the establishment of the institutions agreed on Good Friday, this issue has been resurrected to stall and obstruct forward movement. It was explicitly dealt with in the `Good Friday' agreement. Sinn Fein will honour all the commitments we made as part of that agreement.

``The demand for decommissioning is essentially a unionist demand for an IRA surrender, most vehemently expressed by those whose agenda is the destruction of the agreement. No one involved in the peace process can deliver that. What we can do is build a political process which makes conflict a thing of the past and a political climate in which the issue of decommissioning can be resolved.

Mr. Kelly concluded:

``In the past, simplistic calls for a `gesture' on decommissioning, have been exploited to the full by those intent on blocking progress. We need to be careful at this time not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Calls for gestures on decommissioning only serve those whose agenda is to undermine the agreement and prevent political change.''

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