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McGuinness - RIR Retention not consistent with conflict resolution

3 June, 2003

Speaking today at a Press Conference in Belfast Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP said:

" Demilitarisation was a key element of the Good Friday Agreement. Five years on the British government have not delivered on their obligations. It was therefore a crucial part of the recent negotiations between Sinn Fein and the British government which led to the Joint Declaration.

"Sinn Féin's position has been consistent. We want the removal from the Six Counties of all British Forces - including the RIR. RIR are first and foremost a unionist militia. Conflict resolution inevitably involves the removal of the RIR. Many nationalists, victims of the UDR and RIR, will want to know why Mr Trimble wants to retain this force. They are synonymous with sectarian violence. Many members are also members of unionist paramilitary gangs, up to their necks in collusion and the murder of Catholics.

"Sinn Féin will oppose any moves by the British government to dilute the Joint Declaration as part of a further exercise in pandering to negative and rejectionist unionism." ENDS

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