[Sinn Fein]

5 October 1998

Unionist Veto Cannot be Allowed to Block Progress

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has said that the `unionist veto cannot be allowed to block progress or subvert the peace process'. Mr. Adams was speaking in Bilbao where he is spending one day as the guest of Herri Batesuna. Mr. Adams will be meeting a range of political leaders in the Basque country and is there to lend his support to the efforts for a democratic peace settlement.

The Sinn Fein President said:

``David Trimble's stand is in clear breach of the Good Friday Agreement and threatens the future of the peace process.

``Every effort must be made, particularly by the two governments, to ensure that confidence is not further eroded, and a political vacuum created. It is inconceivable after all of the efforts of recent years that we should allow the progress which has been made to evaporate because of unionists demands for victory and surrender.

``The Good Friday Agreement must be implemented in full and across all of its elements. The lesson of successful conflict resolution processes is that those who are against change should not be allowed to dictate the agenda. The agenda must be inclusive and without pre conditions.

``The problem for unionism is that it has to rethink and re invent itself so that it can embrace change. While Sinn Fein is sensitive to the difficulties for unionism which this creates the British government cannot allow the commitments it made, in a deal involving it and the Irish government and all the parties, to be subverted. Mr Trimble has to make up his mind whether he is really for the agreement or whether he is trying to renegotiate it. For Mr. Blair there can be no prevarication.

``Progress cannot not be held hostage to the whims of unionism. The unionist veto has had a disastrous impact over the decades. It cannot be allowed to block our course to a new future.''ENDS

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