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British should have moved on demil. long before now

4 October, 2004

Responding to comments made by the British General mike Jackson in this mornings London Times, indicating that the British military would be prepared to begin a demilitarisation process before Christmas, Sinn Féin spokesperson on demilitarisation Thomas Reilly MLA said:

" The British general Mike Jackson claims in this mornings London Times that in the context of a political deal the British military in the six counties would be prepared to begin a demilitarisation process. Mike Jackson appears to be missing the point. It is ten years on from the first IRA cessation and six years on from the political deal which committed the British government to a programme of demilitarisation.

" What we have had in the years since is a rationalistion programme being conducted by the British Crown forces to suit their own narrow military agenda. It is worth remembering that the British Army currently has almost twice as many personnel occupying the six counties as it has in its occupation and war in Iraq.

" It is clear that the British government has time and again failed to face down the generals like Mike Jackson on this crucial issue. Nationalists and republicans want to see the British government deliver on its commitments in this area. The time has long since past for the British government to have removed its war apparatus and personnel from six counties." ENDS

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