Six-month delay plan rejected
Six-month delay plan rejected

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has rebuffed demands by the hardline unionist DUP for a six-month transition period for the IRA to demonstrate their peaceful intentions before they would consider sharing power with Sinn Féin.

It was reported earlier this week that the demands for a so-called ‘decontamination’ period had resurfaced in talks aimed at a securing a deal on reviving the power-sharing Assembly in Belfast. The interval would be used to allow time to verify that the IRA had disarmed and ended its activities.

“I have made it very clear that the terms as we know it that the DUP have publicly expressed are not acceptable,” Mr Adams said.

“How could they be acceptable? We have just refreshed our mandate. We respect the DUP’s mandate.

“These ideas of being decontaminated or being tested or being verified, those have long since passed.

“What we need to do is to crunch in a comprehensive way all of the elements involved and then implement what we agree in a practical and an urgent and an expeditious way as is possible.”

Mr Adams, who earlier today met US President George W Bush’s special envoy Mitchell Reiss, criticised the failure of the DUP to get down to the process of securing a deal during the summer.

“The DUP at this moment are on their holidays,” the Sinn Féin leader said.

“That is where the DUP are.

“Will there be a deal done eventually with the DUP? Will they talk to us eventually?

“Of course they will but they cannot be allowed by the governments to do it on their time frame or on their timescale.”

After his party’s meeting with Ambassador Reiss, senior negotiator Sean Farren of the rival nationalist SDLP warned both governments against a form of rolling devolution or deep suspension if efforts to break the political deadlock failed.

He said he hoped that the September deadline will be met.

“But to give the deadline credibility, the governments need to make clear what exactly will happen if it is broken.

“If we don’t get a breakthrough in September, the two governments must not opt for rolling devolution. That is a failed unionist policy tried by the British government in 1982.

“The SDLP would not buy into it then. We will not buy into it now.

“Nor should the governments put the Agreement into deep suspension. That would effectively close down politics here. It would only deepen the current crisis and damage the Agreement further.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News