[Sinn Fein]

20 November 1996

Onus is on Major

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking in Belfast today said:

``The onus is very much at this time upon John Major. You are all aware that John Hume and I have never stopped working. Sinn Fein is still waiting on the British government to respond to different suggestions which have been made about getting a complete restoration of the peace process. We have been waiting quite a long time for the British government to respond.''

Asked if Sinn Fein had any direct contact with the British government at this moment Mr. Adams said:

``We have direct contact with the Irish government, we have direct contact with the White House, and of course Mr. Hume and I meet and are in regular contact. We have no direct contact with the British government and I actually think that in many ways that that points up the British governments commitment on this.

``Sinn Fein's position is for equality of treatment, that includes the right of citizens to chose their own political representation. At this very crucial time when everyone accepts that we are in a very critical period the onus is on the British government to meet with Sinn Fein to try and resolve these difficulties.''

Asked about the Sinn Fein conference at the weekend Mr. Adams said:

``It is just one of an ongoing series of such meetings involving dialogue, discussion and contact within the party. One should not commit the mistake of thinking that here you have a repeat of the 1994 situation. I know some people are drawing a connection between the two. If history is repeating itself it could well be repeating itself as a farce.

``The question is whether the British government is going to respond to the very reasonable points which have been put to it. And why has it taken so long to respond?

``Any attempt to rebuild a peace process has to be upon the foundation of a credible negotiating process and that requires the pro-active involvement of Mr. Major's government. So far that has not been present.

``Mr Major is either going to be the British Prime Minister who brings about peace or plays a leadership role in bringing about peace or he is not. We in Sinn Fein are totally committed to bringing about peace. We see dialogue as the vehicle for doing that and we see that conflict must be ended by negotiation.

``The responsibility is on Mr. Major to play his part in all of that. Will Mr. Major deal with another IRA cessation that way he dealt with the last one? Only Mr. Major can answer that question. It is for John Major to bring about in a leadership way the type of conditions which people desire and his role has to be to paint out and to send a very clear signal that there will be a real negotiating process.''

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