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No alternative to dialogue and agreement - McGuinness

31 August, 2014 - by Martin McGuinness

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has said there is no alternative to dialogue and agreement. 

Delivering a keynote address in Derry this morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA ceasefire, Mr McGuinness said;

"The absence of dialogue and a commitment to dialogue as the way to overcome disagreements is at the heart of the growing difficulties we are now facing in the peace process across a range of key issues. 

"Rather than making progress on the issues of identity, parading and the past by building on the enormously important work carried out by Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan, the DUP and the UUP have now retreated into a coalition with rejectionist unionism and loyalist paramilitaries. 

"Three times in the last six months, the DUP have threatened the political institutions if they do not get their own way. 

"But the real threat to the political institutions is stagnation and the absence of progress. 

"The real threat is the retreat of political unionism from dialogue, compromise, agreement and reconciliation.

"I have personally tried to understand and reach out to the unionist population not least in my engagements with Queen Elizabeth. But reconciliation is not a one-way street. Unionist leaders need to engage in similar initiatives. 

"So there is an enormous onus on those who recognise the enormous progress we have made, and continue to make, since the IRA cessation in 1994 to make their voices heard. 

“There can be no return to the violence and repression that scarred this society for so long.

“I would urge anti-peace process republicans still committed to armed actions to take that same step in 2014 into politics and away from conflict.

"The supporters of the agreement internationally, in particular in the United States of America, need to reassert their interest and influence.

"The two governments need to be champions for progress not, as they have been over the recent past, facilitators of inertia.

"These are the challenges for all of us as we enter a new term in the Assembly but I am convinced that we can find a resolution to all the difficulties facing the political process. 

"There is no alternative to dialogue and agreement. This is the only path to a shared and better future on this island."

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