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McGuinness - UUP/SF relationship crucial

28 October, 2003


Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP, speaking in Belfast today along with Lagan Valley Assembly Cllr Paul Butler has said that the new relationship between the UUP and Sinn Fein is something which holds great potential for the future.

Mr McGuinness said:

"The new relationship between the UUP and Sinn Fein is something which holds great potential for the future. We have been able to sit down and talk through the difficult issues. Unfortunately the UUP were not prepared to move forward at this time but real progress was made and we will return to this work after the election.

"So despite the present difficulties the dialogue between Unionism and republicanism must be built upon. It is key to a new, shared and peaceful future.

"Our troubled history has left a legacy of division and mistrust on this island. These are real problems. But Sinn Fein sees these as difficulties to be overcome. We approach them as problem solvers and with a realistic sense of what is achievable.

"Sinn Fein is not going to walk away from the difficult issues. Nor will we be deflected by those who have done nothing over recent weeks except criticise our efforts.

"In the meantime the two governments must fulfil their part of the agreement in terms of honouring the commitments which they made. ENDS

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