Reiss urged to play positive role
Reiss urged to play positive role

US special envoy Ambassador Mitchell Reiss has clashed with Sinn Féin over the party’s policy on policing and the role of the US administration in the peace process.

Dr Reiss was in Belfast for a round of talks with the political parties including Sinn Féin.

He predicted that “one day soon” all of the North’s political parties will move to fully support the PSNI police.

Sinn Féin’s position is that it will not endorse policing until they have seen the details of legislation devolving policing and justice powers and before unionists share power.

Dr Reiss controversially addressed a PSNI graduation ceremony for new police recruits at Garnerville training centre.

He told the police officers that the US has been a strong supporter of the PSNI and all the policing institutions such as the Policing Board and the Ombudsman’s office.

Dr Reiss claimed there was increasing public support for the PSNI in the North.

He said that one day soon all of the North’s political parties will move to fully support the PSNI.

“I believe it is only a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if’,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams criticised certain hostile elements within the US government system.

“If the Bush Administration is to return to the positive role it and the Clinton administration played in the Irish peace process then anti-Sinn Féin elements will have to be reined in.

“Sinn Féin has never looked for special treatment. The bedrock of our support comes from Irish America.

“We have never looked for party political support from any US official or agency. All parties have to be given parity of esteem and equality of treatment. Any other approach is counter productive and unhelpful.

“I want to see this administration returning to an even handed and balanced approach.”

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