The IRA tonight called for a deal involving the Ulster Unionists and the British and Irish governments, which dramatically collapsed last week, to be honoured in full.

In their third statement on the process in eight days, the IRA said they had put ``the largest amount of arms to date'' beyond use last week to boost the process.

But they accused Ulster Unionist leader Mr Trimble of failing to keep to his side of the deal and giving them no ``credible explanation'' as to why he did so.

The statement said the arms move was part of an agreed sequence of actions involving the Ulster Unionists, Sinn Féin, the IICD arms body and the British and Irish governments.

The IRA said: ``The political process these initatives were designed to facilitate has been halted without a credible explanation from those who stopped it.

``The leadership of the IRA honoured our commitments. Others have not fulfilled theirs. This is totally unacceptable.

``When we give our word, we keep it. We expect others to do the same.

``Until they do so, there can be little prospect of progress on the issues they profess concern about.''

However, the IRA did not say that it had broken off contact with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), or that the process in which they are involved has been suspended.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has accentuated the positive, stressing the value in the talks which have taken place. The party's Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP has said yesterday that ``the new relationship between the UUP and Sinn Féin is something which holds great potential for the future''.

``We have been able to sit down and talk through the difficult issues,'' Mr McGuinness said. ``Unfortunately the UUP were not prepared to move forward at this time but real progress was made and we will return to this work after the election.''

All sides have agreed that negotiations would be put on hold until after the election. The Irish and British governments yesterday stressed that they would seek to revive the peace process deal as quickly as possible, so as to enable local power-sharing government to be restored to the Six Counties.

Mr McGuinness said that ``despite the present difficulties, the dialogue between Unionism and republicanism must be built upon. It is key to a new, shared and peaceful future.

``Our troubled history has left a legacy of division and mistrust on this island. These are real problems. But Sinn Féin sees these as difficulties to be overcome. We approach them as problem-solvers and with a realistic sense of what is achievable.

``Sinn Féin is not going to walk away from the difficult issues. Nor will we be deflected by those who have done nothing over recent weeks except criticise our efforts.

``In the meantime the two governments must fulfil their part of the agreement in terms of honouring the commitments which they made.''

There has been no word yet from the governments regarding the moves on human rights, language issues, demilitarisation and policing and justice reform which, it is understood, were to be part of last week's deal.

The two governments, in common with Sinn Féin and the Ulster Unionists, have exercised restraint in their rhetoric and expressed hope that the deal can be salvaged following next month's election.

Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, said in the British parliament today that it was ``highly desirable'' that the IRA should now engage with the IICD ``to repair the mistakes that were made''.

He said: ``If the sequence, which it was necessary for me to put on hold last Tuesday, is at any point in the future to be resumed and carried through, it would be essential that through the next few weeks during the election campaign that republicans should abide very clearly by the commitments to peaceful means that they made at that stage.''

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© 2003 Irish Republican News