[Sinn Fein]

28 October 1997

Unionists accused of burying head in sand

Sinn Fein Chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness has accused the Ulster Unionist Party of burying its head in the sand by refusing to face up to the reality that the current peace process requires fundamental political and constitutional change.

Speaking outside Castle Buildings, Stormont, this afternoon Mr. McGuinness said:

``The Ulster Unionist Party has to this point singularly failed to engage with all parties at the negotiating table. It is now time for the time wasting to stop and for the UUP to face up to its responsibilities with regard to serious engagement with all participants to this process.

``From contributions that have been thus far many of us are now wondering whether or not the Ulster Unionists are serious about negotiating a settlement to this conflict . They have adopted a negative approach and it would appear that they are not prepared to face up to the analysis of many of the other parties that this process requires fundamental change.

``The reality is that we have situation where all that has gone before has failed. There is a need for new arrangements ; there is a need for change and most of the participants to this process are prepared to face up to the type of negotiations which are required to bring this about. However it appears that Ulster Unionists are not even remotely interested in accepting the analysis of even a government to which they claim to give an allegiance and that is the British government.''

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