[Sinn Fein]

9 October 1996

Viable peace process essential - Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking in Dublin today said:

``Since the breakdown of the peace process in February this year, Sinn Fein has been working intensively, with others, to build a process which can deal effectively with the causes of conflict and which can overcome the failures of the past two years. The primary objective of a peace process is to achieve an agreed and lasting peace settlement which makes all armed actions a thing of the past.

``It is obvious that peace negotiations can best take place in a peaceful environment. But when that peaceful environment was created in August 1994 it was the absence of peace negotiations which caused the breakdown of the peace process.

``If the peace process is to be rebuilt in a way which creates confidence we need to learn the lessons of the last two years. Sinn Fein continues to play an active and willing part in this but others, and particularly the British government have to acknowledge their responsibilities also.

``What is required is a viable process of peace negotiations; one which is inclusive, free of preconditions and which is conducted within a realistic timeframe to generate the necessary momentum and urgency.

``The IRA has committed itself to enhance the democratic peace process. As far as I am aware that remains their position. The challenge facing us all is to create such a democratic peace process. We can only do so through dialogue and through the creation of a process of real peace negotiations.'' ENDS

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