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McGuinness - Inclusive dialogue based on equality and respect central to any conflict resolution process

2 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness this weekend addressed an International Conference in Limerick organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The conference was titled 'Towards Peace and Justice in Palestine and Israel' and Mr. McGuinness spoke about building peace through dialogue and inclusive politics.

Mr. McGuinness said:

"Sinn Féin's peace strategy began almost twenty years ago with the key documents, Scenario for Peace and Towards a Lasting Peace in Ireland At the core of the peace strategy was the need for a peace process to resolve the causes of conflict. With others, we set about the task of putting such a process in train. The embryonic peace process emerged publicly in 1993 in the first joint statement by Gerry Adams and John Hume and the IRA's cessation of military operations in 1994 opened up a huge opportunity for progress.

"Despite the difficulties that have dogged the peace process in Ireland since that time, it has begun the process of transforming the country. And if the Irish and British governments hold their nerve and stand by the Good Friday Agreement, which came about due to the peace process, then much more can be achieved in the time ahead.

"One of the core principles of the Irish peace process is that conflict resolution should be based on inclusive dialogue based on equality and respect. But these principles equally apply in the Middle East, in South Africa and beyond.

"Although no two conflicts are the same we did learn much from the ANC in South Africa and we have attempted to share our experiences and the lessons we learned with others, most recently in the Basque Country and Sri Lanka. Wherever we can Sinn Féin's has sought to promote conflict resolution and to assist in whatever way we can the development of a peace process." ENDS

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