Positive Neutrality
The following is an edited version of the conclusion of Sinn Féin’s Positive Neutrality in Action document, which was published today.

We support full foreign policy independence, underpinned by support for UN primacy and complemented by Positive Neutrality in Action. We believe that neutrality must be enshrined in the Constitution. We see our commitment to demilitarisation of the EU and universal nuclear disarmament as an extension of our commitment to fully demilitarise the conflict on this island.

Positive Neutrality in Action is not about sitting on the fence. It is not about taking no action. It is not about pacifism. It is about actively promoting and participating in conflict resolution, demilitarisation, and making politics work to redress legitimate grievances and achieve needed social changes -- at both state and international levels.

Sinn Féin recognises that militarisation does not increase security because the biggest threats to security presently are not military threats; they are poverty, hunger, disease, and injustice. Therefore, our policy of Positive Neutrality in Action recognises the need to adopt a wholistic “Human Security” approach -- which means understanding, confronting, and redressing the social, political and economic roots of conflict, including the structural roots.

Sinn Féin also recognises the urgent need for UN reform and a return to the primacy of the UN system, which has been undermined. For all its shortcomings, it remains the most globally representative and inclusive international forum and therefore our best prospect for international peace. We reject both standing military alliances and unilateral action in international relations in favour of collective action at UN level.

We also oppose in principle the outsourcing of peacekeeping to regional groupings such as the EU. This is a negative development that both undermines the development of UN peacekeeping by rendering it redundant and encourages the creation and consolidation of regional military alliances -- the very phenomenon that the UN was formed to render obsolete.

Building capacity in a reformed UN, so that it is able to take on the missions that are necessary, so that it can respond early and proactively to prevent genocide, for example, should be a global policy priority. We believe that the creation of an EU Army and the focus on EU Defence undermines this project by diverting energy and resources that should rightfully go directly to the UN system.

These principles and beliefs have informed Sinn Féin’s policy of Positive Neutrality in Action. It is our belief that if Ireland followed this policy our nation could make a highly significant contribution towards the long-held global objective of international peace with justice, and towards the achievement of Human Security, to which everyone has a right.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News