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McGuinness - Dialogue with Unionists is the key to future progress

11 November, 2003

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP speaking at a press conference in Belfast this morning said: "Sinn Féin has taken real risks for peace. We did so because we have a strategy to bring about a lasting peace. Central to this strategy is the intense dialogue with unionists. Although in an embryonic stage it has already delivered progress and we intend to build on it following the elections." Mr. McGuinness was accompanied by Conor Murphy, Michelle Gildernew MP, Cora Groogan and Philip McGuigan.

Mr McGuinness said:

"A lot has been achieved not just in the last five years but over the last decade and the Ireland we live in today is a very different place. Ten years ago there was a conflict that many said could not be resolved. We believed differently. We set about our peace strategy and worked day and night to develop the Irish Peace Process.

"The result of this effort is to be seen in every town and village in Ireland, not least in interface areas across the north this summer.

"The peace on our streets this summer happened because republicans and unionists worked together to make it happen.

"Dialogue and engagement delivered real benefits at the interface areas. At a wider level the dialogue between Sinn Féin and the UUP is the basis for future progress.

"We have made progress. We need to build upon this after the election.

"We are asking the electorate to join with us and endorse this work. We are asking them to support us in the forthcoming elections so that we can go into the negotiations stronger and bring about the type of lasting change which can be delivered through the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement."ENDS

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