[Sinn Fein]

11 December 1996

Key lies with British - Adams

Confirming that himself and John Hume are to meet at the earliest opportunity to discuss the British government response to their proposals, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said:

``I have repeatedly said that the securing of a lasting peace in Ireland is the primary political focus of Sinn Fein. It remains my own personal priority. This has been the purpose of my dialogue with John Hume over the years of our dialogue.

``It is my firm intention to do everything in my power to take the gun out of Irish politics. Sinn Fein's resolution to bring about a negotiated settlement has been persistent and our determination to do so is enduring. My commitment to a lasting peace is absolute.

``Our recent initiative was aimed at creating an inclusive and credible negotiations process which could operate in a peaceful environment. It is a matter of grave disappointment that the British government rejected our proposals and instead added new obstacles to Sinn Fein's entry to dialogue, which contradicts any notion of equality of treatment. This is the reality which everyone concerned to see a credible peace process must now address.

``The imperative is, therefore, to persuade the British government to set aside its own narrow self-interests and to take a more positive approach to the search for peace in Ireland. The opportunity for peace has not been lost but the key is clearly in the hands of the British government.''

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