The Irish and British governments must fulfil commitments they have made to the peace process or there can be ``little prospect of any progress'', the mainstream Provisional IRA has warned.

In its annual Easter statement, the IRA accuses the two governments and the Ulster Unionist Party of acting in bad faith by reneging on an agreement last October which would have brought about the restoration of devolved government.

The IRA said that, despite provocation from British forces and unionist paramilitaries, it had maintained its cessation and demonstrated its commitment to the peace process.

``The leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party and the two governments did not fulfil theirs. They acted in bad faith.

``Yet again the two governments are attempting to move the goalposts. This has caused justifiable anger. It is unacceptable that other protagonists should try to dictate the terms of our cessation.

``The honouring of agreements and commitments is critical in instilling confidence and demonstrating that politics can work. They are essential elements of building an enduring political process.''

The IRA message comes on the sixth anniverary of the Good Friday Agreement approaches, with little indication that the deadlock over the implementation of that Agreement will be resolved in the short term.

In the statement signed `P. O'Neill', the IRA said that throughout the 10 years of its cessation there had been ``very serious provocation from British securocrats, their military forces and their allies in unionist paramilitarism''.

It said that in the same period, others within the British and Irish establishments had ``persisted with the idea of defeating republicans rather than moving forward''.

IRA guns ``remain silent'' despite an ``onslaught of unionist paramilitary violence against Catholics, including hundreds of attacks and a number of killings over the last year''.

The IRA also said that elements of the British and Irish establishments were on an offensive to defeat republicanism. Ir said said there was now an attempt to ``criminalise and demonise republicans'' for ``selfish electoral reasons''.

``Leading this are Irish politicians who stood idly by while Irish citizens, North and South, were being terrorised by the RUC, the British Army and their surrogates in the unionist death squads.''

This would fail, the IRA vowed.


Republicans have been gloomy as the Irish and British governments are reported to be pinning their hopes for progress on Ian Paisley's DUP, which publishes its proposals for North-South and British-Irish relations tomorrow.

As Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern prepare to engage in the northern political process after Easter, they will know their IMC sanctions body will publish a report focusing on the alleged IRA attack and attempted abduction of dissident republican Bobby Tohill in two weeks' time. This is likely to further undermine political confidence, following on the controversy over the Cory reports on collusion.

The European elections on June 11 will come into the frame shortly after, making political progress increasingly diffficult as May goes on.

A small window in late April and early May is now being seen as the best hope for laying the groundwork for substantial talks to take place after the confrontational and potentially violent summer marching season.

The DUP is still refusing to deal directly with Sinn Féin in a strategy reminiscent to that pursued by the Ulster Unionist Party in negotations which led to the Good Friday Agreemnt six years ago.

The governments' position is that the two key issues are that there needs to be a complete, total and definitive end to paramilitary activity across the board, both loyalist and republican; and that there should be an assurance of a willingness that everybody would share power if the first issue was resolved.

A Sinn Féin spokesman, however, has said there will be no progress if the British and Irish governments do not act clearly on the commitments they made last October.

These commitments cover a range of issues including demilitarisation, human rights, policing and justice matters.

``If they think that republicans are going to be persuaded or cajoled or pressured, or pushed into initiatives in the absence of the governments dealing in good faith with us, then they need to think again.

``So, whatever amount of time Mr Blair and Mr Ahern are considering setting aside for any process post-Easter... they better get the sequence right and they better get the context right, because so far they have got it wrong,'' the Sinn Féin spokesman said.

With the Sinn Féin leadership set to face republican grassroots at commemorations around the country, it is not expected that there will be any dramatic announcements.

The Sinn Féin spokesman said: ``The fact is that last Easter we went through a fairly traumatic period within republicanism, as at that time we tried to put together an initiative which then was subsequently rejected.

``We went through that process again in October. The very damaging fallout from that debacle is still with us. We have to deal with this at Easter and talk directly to our own constituency about all of those problems, setting out clearly what we think is required in the weeks ahead, given that Blair has signalled an intensification in the political process.''

Asked about the DUP's North-South proposals, the Sinn Féin spokesman said: ``While it would be interesting to see what they would be putting on the table in respect of that, what they have on the table now in terms of the Good Friday Agreement is not going to work anyway.''

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