Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, who has spent four days in political briefings in Washington DC, has expressed his confidence that the Provisional IRA leadership will honour its commitments, including that of engaging with the decommissioning body and putting its weapons beyond use.
Mr Adams met members of Congress, including Senator Hillary Clinton in Washington DC, as well as State Department officials.
The Sinn Féin President commended the White House Administration and all those US politicians who have contributed to recent developments through their support for the peace process. And he urged the US to “remain engaged in the time ahead as efforts intensify to advance the process.”
Mr. Adams also spoke at length about the current crisis within Unionism, the intensification over the summer months of sectarian attacks on Catholics and the street disturbances involving the Orange Order and unionist paramilitaries. He called on all those with influence to intervene to ensure that sectarian attacks are ended.
“The Six Counties was built on injustice, inequality and discrimination against Catholics and Nationalists,” he said.
“This is recognised in the Good Friday Agreement and the formidable agenda for fundamental change which it contains. And it is both a fear of change and desire to dominate which lies at the heart of the crisis within unionism. The outworking of this crisis can be seen in the hundreds of attacks on Catholics, their homes, churches, schools and property.
“Unionist political leaders have contributed to this by their refusal to accept the rights and entitlement of nationalists and the democratic mandate of Sinn Féin and in the bad leadership which they have provided.
“This is not entirely surprising. People, including politicians, respond to the political conditions in which they live. In the north of Ireland, these conditions have been shaped by the policies pursued by successive British governments, which have reinforced unionists intransigence time and time again. While Irish Republicans will do all we can to assuage genuine unionist fears and open a dialogue with unionist leaders this cannot be a one way street. Unionist leaders need to reciprocate. The British and Irish Governments also need to play their part. They need to stop pandering to unionism and to move forward speedily and fulfil their commitment to implement all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.
“For my part as the process moves ahead I look forward to the engagement between Sinn Féin and unionism, including the DUP. Sinn Féin is ready for these discussions and up for the challenges they will involve. I hope the DUP and Ian Paisley are similarly prepared.”