Adams - Task facing us is difficult as Unionists walk away from agreement
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in Belfast tonight said "The task facing all of us has been made much more difficult by the position adopted by the UUP but we will return to this in the wake of the election. Sinn Fein is not going to walk away from this process."
Mr. Adams said:
"I am bitterly disappointed that the UUP is not prepared to move forward.
"The recent, intense dialogue between the UUP and Sinn Féin is a hugely important development in itself. Whatever about the present difficulties this must be protected. It is key to future political progress.
"The discussions were thorough and business like and were conducted throughout in an atmosphere of cordiality. The focus was to see the election conducted in the most positive, pro-Agreement climate possible and to have the political institutions restored on a stable basis
"Republicans listened carefully to Unionist concerns, pain-stakingly talked these through and, eventually, we developed a way to address these stated concerns. All of this culminated in an Agreement between the UUP, the two governments and Sinn Féin.
"Sinn Féin delivered our part of this sequence as agreed. The IRA delivered their part of the sequence as agreed. General de Chastelain presided over a substantial act of putting arms beyond use and reported this. The UUP, at the point of delivery on their side, effectively walked away. Only they can explain why they did so. But it beggars belief that the entire peace process should be put on hold because the UUP were not satisfied with the IICD description of the IRA initiative in putting arms beyond use.
"There is a particular onus of the two governments to fulfil their part of the agreement in terms of honouring the commitments which they made as part of the overall agreement.
"There is also a need to defend the integrity and independence of the IICD. The effort and commitment of General de Chastelain and Andrew Sens is greatly appreciated.
"The task facing all of us has been made much more difficult by the position adopted by the UUP but we will return to this in the wake of the election. Sinn Fein is not going to walk away from this process."ENDS