There is no alternative to the agenda for change
Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking during a meeting of the party's Ard Chomhairle in Dublin today said "the Sinn Féin negotiations team will continue to work over the weekend to try and make the necessary progress before the talks move to Leeds Castle next week. However the most difficult issue facing us is whether or not the DUP is capable of doing a deal or whether or not they are capable of abandoning their anti-Agreement position."
Mr. McLaughlin said:
"This morning the Sinn Féin leadership was briefed by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness regarding ongoing contacts with the governments and there was an extensive discussion on the upcoming talks at Leeds Castle.
"There was concern that much of the media commentary surrounding the upcoming talks at Leeds Castle has portrayed the discussions as being about two issues - armed groups and stability of institutions.
"However the real issue is whether or not the DUP are capable of doing a deal. And whether or not they are capable of abandoning their anti-Agreement position and making progress based on the principles and fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement. There is no alternative to that agenda of change. So if the DUP are to be part of an agreement they must abandon their anti-agreement agenda.
"That is the challenge which faces us in the days ahead. And if it emerges that the DUP are not up for the challenge then the two governments and the British government in particular must move immediately on the human rights, equality, policing and demilitarisation agenda. They must stop rewarding negative unionism. They must return to advancing the Good Friday Agreement agenda.
"Sinn Féin has approached this entire process in a positive and constructive frame of mind. We will continue to do this. Our negotiation team will continue to work throughout the weekend to try and make the necessary progress before the talks move to Leeds Castle." ENDS