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Maskey - Belief that UUP have walked away from this phase of process

27 October, 2003

Commenting on the ongoing efforts to put the peace process back on track, South Belfast Sinn Féin Representative Cllr. Alex Maskey has said that there is 'a belief that the UUP have effectively walked away for this phase of the process'.

Cllr. Maskey said:

"The recent intense dialogue between the UUP and Sinn Féin in itself a hugely important development. Whatever about the present difficulties this must be protected. It is key to future political progress. So I want to be measured in my words today.

" The forthcoming Assembly election could have been conducted in a positive, pro-Agreement climate. That is in our collective interests. That has been the focus of our collective efforts in recent times.

"We had an agreement; an agreed and choreographed series of statements and events to give expression to that and David Trimble committed himself to this in the discussions between the UUP, Sinn Féin and the two governments. Sinn Féin delivered our part of this sequence as agreed. The IRA delivered their part of the agreement as agreed. General de Chastelein presided over a substantive act of putting arms beyond use and reported this. Others did not fulfil their part as agreed.

"Instead the UUP put up new demands. We have spent the days since then trying to find a way through this. But this must be set firmly in the context of what has already been agreed between the UUP, the British Government, the Irish Government and Sinn Fein. However, I believe that the UUP have effectively walked away for this phase of the process. I could be wrong. I hope that I am wrong. Mr Trimble needs to tell us. He needs to make his position clear. It now over to David Trimble and the UUP leadership to decide." ENDS

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