Sinn Féin - On Your Side

British government left in doubt about need to defend Agreement

24 September, 2004


Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP speaking after a meeting in London has stated that 'Sinn Fein has consistently said that there can be no dilution of the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement and that the role of the British government must be defend the core principles of the Agreement'.

Speaking in Belfast today Mr McGuinness said:

"It is clear that the progress achieved at Leeds Castle is based upon a strong defence of the core principles of the Good Friday Agreement - power sharing, all Ireland Institutions and Equality. The two governments, and particularly the British government are in absolutely no doubt that there can be no comprehensive agreement if there is any attempt to dilute these fundamental principles.

"This week has not seen the progress that was made at the Leeds Castle talks built upon. We have not seen the resolute defence of these principles by the two governments. Sinn Fein has consistently said that there can be no dilution of the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement and that the role of the British government is to defend the core principles of the Agreement.

"Progress on achieving comprehensive agreement, involving the DUP, is only possible if the DUP move away from their anti-agreement position.

"The DUP want nationalists and republicans to trust them. Yet the track record of unionism in the Assembly, and tellingly in unionist dominated councils is one of exclusion, discrimination and refusal to share power. This is why any dilution of the principles of the all Ireland, power sharing and equality aspects of the agreement is totally unacceptable to nationalists and republicans.

"There is a particular responsibility on the two governments to spell out this reality to the DUP. Sinn Fein is the largest nationalist party, the largest pro-agreement party and we will not agree or sign up to anything that dilutes or undermines the core principles of the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS

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