Irish Republican News · March 31, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Review becoming a `farce' - Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has described the review of the Good Friday Agreement review as ``now little more than a farce'' after the British and Irish governments cancelled talks for two weeks.

This had happened despite the parties, including Sinn Féin, had put forward a comprehensive agenda for discussion.

``The two governments have to come up with a more focused structure if they really want to make progress,'' Mr Adams said.

He also claimed that despite all the positive spin, there was no evidence that the DUP was prepared to engage positively with the peace process or with the institutions established under the agreement.

Mr Adams said: ``The DUP's terms for talking to Sinn Féin are totally unacceptable.

``The failure of the two governments to honour their commitments under the agreement and last October, reinforces the DUP in this position.

``Indeed, why should the DUP properly engage at all when by doing nothing they can veto progress,'' he added.

The Sinn Féin president said that the British and Irish governments hold the key to unlocking the current stalemate.

``By implementing their obligations, by making clear to unionism that it cannot block change, the two governments can engender confidence and create an atmosphere in which everyone can feel liberated and empowered to move forward,'' he said.

Meanwhile, a Sinn Féin delegation had discussions in Belfast with the SDLP about the political stalemate.

SDLP senior negotiator Sean Farren said there was a consensus that greater urgency, clarity and a renewed impetus was required in the review of the Good Friday Agreement.

``We need a clear structure and timescale for the review, with parties engaging with each other on all aspects of the agreement. This will not emerge from talks that have no sense of direction and no shared understanding,'' he said.

``The present approach will only intensify frustration, dampen expectations and damage people's confidence that we can get politics working again. What we need from the two governments is less helicopter-driven diplomacy and more work to make the parties engage in real negotiations.''

Speaking afterwards, Sinn Féin assembly group leader Conor Murphy said: ``There are key issues that impact on our shared constituency, not least concerns about the handling of the Cory report by the British government, and the Human Rights Commission. Both these issues highlight an unwillingness to move the process on.

``The refusal of the two governments to lift suspension or indeed accept their own commitments remains the most negative influence on the peace process,'' he said.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News