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McGuinness - Sinn Féin ready and willing to enter Executive with DUP

11 September, 2006

Speaking after meeting with the Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan in Stormont, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness said that the DUP needed to start indicating that they were up for a serious engagement if the planned talks in Scotland next month were to have a chance of success.

Mr McGuinness said:

"This is the last chance for the Assembly and Executive. The two governments have stated clearly that November 24th is the deadline to get the political institutions back up and running. People can be sure that we will be doing everything in our power to see that happen.

"However the success or otherwise of the forthcoming period will be dictated by the attitude adopted by the two governments - whether they are prepared to stand by the Agreement or not.

"Sinn Féin are ready and willing to enter an Executive in the morning. We are ready and willing to take our places in a fully functioning Assembly. There is no doubt about that. We have already demonstrated a willingness to take part in any other business which is about bringing back the institutions. That remains our position. We have spent the summer months locked into the Preparation for Government Committee, as have the other parties, including the DUP. But the logical outcome of preparing for government is establishing an Executive.

"The talks planned for Scotland in early October can become a central part of an overall timetabled plan to see the institutions put back in place. If the two governments stand up and defend the Agreement and make it very clear that the process is not going to be allowed to stand still then progress can undoubtedly be made. It would also greatly help if the DUP indicated now whether or not they were up for a serious engagement.

"So we will come at the next period positively, but realistically given the approach adopted by the DUP up until now. But the parties don't hold the key to unlocking the current stalemate. The two governments must now drive forward this process. They must take the lead." ENDS

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