McGuinness discusses Adams initiative with US envoy
McGuinness discusses Adams initiative with US envoy

Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness, taking two days off from his Westminster re-election campaign to visit the US, had a 45-minute meeting with the Bush administration’s envoy to Mitchell Reiss, in Washington on Wednesday. Mr Reiss described it as a “good meeting” and a “business-like session”, held at Mr McGuinness’s request.

They discussed Gerry Adams’s recent appeal to the Provisional IRA, the upcoming elections, and how the peace process can be put on course, Mr Reiss said.

Speaking following the meeting, Mr McGuinness described Mr Adams’s appeal to the IRA calling for it to adopt only democratic and political methods as “a hugely significant initiative aimed at advancing the peace process and moving us out of the current deep impasse.

“This was a genuine attempt on behalf of Sinn Fein to show the necessary political leadership at what is undoubtedly a difficult period in the process.

“Gerry Adams’s initiative has been well received by both the British and Irish governments and by the Administration and political opinion here in the US. The fact that I am here in the US while other political leaders in the North are engaged solely on the election campaign is a demonstration of the seriousness with which we are taking forward this initiative.

“There is a narrow window of opportunity to get down to serious negotiations after the Westminster and local government elections. If this is to succeed then it is important that all in political leadership including the two governments display the necessary political will to see real progress made. That will involve difficult decisions for all, not just republicans.”

Asked if he was optimistic about the IRA response to the Sinn Fein leader’s speech, Mr Reiss said, “I wanted to hear from Martin how he saw things developing in the weeks and months ahead and I have no reason to be less or more optimistic.”

Mr McGuinness was also a guest yesterday of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy at a lunch hosted to mark what was described as the “historic initiative” taken by Sinn Fein.

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