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Martin McGuinness begins US trip

25 May, 2005


Speaking from Washington where he is engaged in a series of meetings with senior US politicians and influential Irish American figures, Sinn Féin Chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said that there is a firm view in the US that any future progress within the political process must be based on the principles set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr. McGuinness said:

"Over the next few days I will be meeting with senior US politicians and influential Irish American figures to update them on the peace process and on what is required to move the process forward. I will also be raising the refusal to grant a visa waiver to our representative to the US Rita O'Hare. The White House, US politicians and Irish America have played a crucial role in the peace process, particularly at times when courage and imagination was needed to move the process forward. I am confident that they will play such a role in the coming months.

"There is a widespread acceptance in the US that political progress is possible in the coming period if the necessary political will is displayed by all of the parties and in particular by the two governments. However there is also a firm view, which I share, that any future progress must be based on the principles set out in the Good Friday Agreement. There has to be an acceptance of these core principles by the DUP.

"In the negotiations late last year Sinn Féin ensured that the core principles of the Agreement were defended and protected to the point that the DUP were forced reluctantly to move onto the ground of the Good Friday Agreement. This reality is obvious in the content of the Comprehensive Agreement published by the two governments in December 2004.

" However as we all now know for electoral or whatever reason the DUP chose to back away at the last minute from a comprehensive deal. Of course the DUP can choose to do this again and ignore the reality, which faces them and once again shy away from the political and democratic process. If that happens the two governments must move swiftly to ensure that the DUP are not allowed a continuing veto on future progress." ENDS

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