Irish Republican News · April 26, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Parties consider revised proposals

Sinn Féin and the DUP have received a modified version of the proposals by the Irish and British governments and will give their responses to the plan early next week.

It accepted, a historic deal could emerge which would see a return to the Stormont Assembly by both parties to share power in the North of Ireland.

Reports suggested that, despite extensive calls for “clarification” by the two parties, there had been few changes to the plan.

The proposals include a number of changes to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement demanded by Ian Paisley’s DUP, and requires the complete disarming of the Provisional IRA.

Mr Paisley briefed his party this evening, but no decision emerged from a meeting of the DUP Assembly party.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP briefed the party’s leadership yesterday on the state of the negotiation, but he was back in London today for further talks with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Both parties look set to continue the process of evaluation and negotiation over the weekend.

The US President, George W. Bush, took time to contact the leader of the DUP as he sought to persuade the parties to enter a deal.

The Democratic Unionist leader confirmed he received a phone call from the US President at lunchtime and described their conversation as useful.

“I reminded the President of the fact that he would not have terrorists in his government and we must be satisfied that IRA terrorism is over and cannot return,” he said.

“He wished me well in our endeavours and told me I could come back to him if I wanted to speak again to him.

“I told him we have been praying forever in this country and I wished him well at this time.”

Mr Adams was also expecting a phone call from President Bush. It also emerged the West Belfast MP also met former South African President Nelson Mandela while he was in London.

DUP deputy leader Mr Robinson declared last night that “decision time” had arrived for the Republican Movement. He claimed that everyone in this process knew that the IRA must “wind up and go out of business”. Mr Paisley said the IRA had “nothing to do but to be an old boys’ association”.


Speaking on his return from London today, Mr Adams said his party would go to the IRA if a comprehensive package was put together. He said questions on IRA decommissioning would be decided by them.

But he added: “As far as us as a political party is concerned, the arms issue should be dealt with under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which means the de Chastelain Commission.

“I would also say, when you are asking for something, it is useful to be civil and temperate in your language.

“If people in the DUP genuinely want others to do things, don’t refer to them as gangsters, don’t use offensive language in the way that it has been used in the past because the Sinn Féin team could quite easily get into Ulster Resistance, its weapons and all of that.

“We haven’t. We have taken a conscious decision not to because this is about politics.

“This is about trying to get a peace process in place which delivers politics which can treat people on the basis of equality.”

Mr Adams earlier said his negotiators were working “to bring the DUP on board and to ensure that the two governments remain faithful to the Agreement”.

He said the governments had to work with the pro-agreement parties and refuse to give a veto to rejectionist unionism.

“It also means the DUP entering government with Sinn Féin, sharing power with republicans on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News