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Adams - Review Must be time-limited and deal with breaches by the governments

30 December, 2003


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA has written to the two governments outlining Sinn Féin‚s view for the agenda and conduct of the forthcoming Review of the operation of the Good Friday Agreement by the pro-Agreement parties, including the two governments.

Mr Adams said: „The failure by the two governments to fully implement the Agreement plus their willingness at times to step outside the terms of the Agreement, must be subject for the upcoming review."

The Sinn Féin leader added "the review should be time-limited to one month and its conclusions should be published promptly; provision should be made for input from interested parties from civic society, including other political parties, the voluntary and community sector, campaign groups, business sector, church, equality and human rights organisations, and trade unions and there should be dedicated meetings to discuss the various issues grouped under headings which bring together the different elements of the Agreement."

Mr. Adams said:

"This Review Process is about a review of the operation and delivery of the Good Friday Agreement and is a necessary part of the Agreement achieved in April 98. While we welcome the assertion by both governments that it will not be a review of the fundamentals of the Agreement, we remain concerned that some parties may seek a renegotiation of the Agreement.

There is an onus on both governments to make clear that this will not happen or that anti-Agreement parties will be allowed to use the Review for their own ends.

The review is not a substitute for working political institutions."

The Sinn Féin President called for the lifting of the suspension of the institutions.

He said:

"It is both unfortunate and disappointing that parties are considering their approach to the review in the context of a continuing suspension of the political institutions. This can only serve to encourage those who persist with a negative agenda and seek to veto the implementation of the Agreement.

The suspension is itself a breach of the Agreement and undermines substantially any assertion by the governments that its fundamentals are not up for renegotiation.The suspension of the Assembly should be lifted immediately."

Finally, Mr Adams argued that „both the format and the agenda of the review must give a renewed impetus to the full implementation of the Agreement.

With particular regard to its format Sinn Fein believes that the review; should be time-limited to one month and its conclusions should be published promptly; provision should be made for input from interested parties from civic society, including other political parties, the voluntary and community sector, campaign groups, business sector, church, equality and human rights organisations, and trade unions; and there should be dedicated meetings to discuss the various issues grouped under headings which bring together the different elements of the Agreement.

These include the political institutions; human rights and the equality agenda including victims; demilitarisation; the issue of arms; policing and justice; and prisoners and related matters.

With respect to the agenda for the review Sinn Féin has called for it to discuss a range of issues including a re-endorsement of the GFA; referendum on Irish unity; an expansion of North South activity/structures; the All-Ireland parliamentary forum; the all-Ireland civic forum; the Irish

Language and Symbols and emblems, as well as the issues of sanctions and the IMC."ENDS

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