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Sinn Féin to discuss demilitarisation with Tony Blair and Hugh Orde

28 November, 2004

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP, the party's Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, Catriona Ruane MLA, Gerry Kelly MLA, Ard Chomhairle member Councillor Joe Reilly and Michelle Gildernew MP will meet the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street tomorrow morning. The key issue under discussion will be demilitarisation and the need for an immediate accelerated programme to accomplish this. The British Prime Minister will be accompanied by the PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde.

Speaking tonight Sinn Fein Party Chairperson Mitchel Mclaughlin said:

"There are a number of matters which need to be resolved in the current negotiations. One of these is the key issue of demilitarisation.

"Sinn Fein has consistently argued that there is a need for an immediate and accelerated programme of demilitarisation. This is a vital part of the peace process and part of the unfinished work of the Good Friday Agreement.

"It is time for the British government to move speedily to deal with this matter. It is a critical issue for nationalist Ireland.

"Previously Mr. Blair has told us that the responsibility for demilitarisation rests with the Chief Constable. Sinn Féin is meeting him with Mr. Blair in order to press the case for an end to the military occupation in republican heartlands and to test his commitment to bring this about. There will be no discussion on policing issues at tomorrows meeting." ENDS

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