Unionist veto may destroy Agreement
The Good Friday Agreement is under the greatest threat to its existence so far, as unionist attempts to bring it down appear to face no opposition from the British government.
A media and unionist-created demand for forced decommissioning of IRA arms could now destroy the entire political process.
The real threat to the process does not come from Irish republicans. It stems directly from the decision of the British government to act on an Ulster Unionist Party unilateral deadline on the weapons issue. By falling into the unionist trap, the British government risks being in default of the Good Friday Agreement.
Suspending the institutions will not resolve the arms issue. On the contrary it will make the resolution of that issue all the more difficult.
There is no legal or other basis, apart from expediency, for suspension. Sinn Féin has asked the British government what will come after suspension and has yet to receive any clear answer.
Even this week, the Unionists have been seeking to insert even more new preconditions for implementing the Agreement, with some representatives demanding the retention of the RUC's name as a prerequisite for participation in the Executive.
If the British government continues to give in to the unionist veto - and they have continually helped Trimble get off the hook of his own making - it will undermine the principles of equality, inclusivness and justice which are the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement.
The majority of people in Ireland do not want the progress and hope embodied in the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement to be pulled down by the British and the unionists. In these most troubling times, Sinn Féin's focus is on saving the Good Friday Agreement and on ensuring the stability of the peace process.