Sinn Féin - On Your Side

McLaughlin - British Government focus on delivering on its commitments under terms of Agreement required

24 August, 2003

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has described as a 'marriage of convenience' recent similar criticism of Sinn Fein by the UUP and the SDLP.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

"The crisis in the peace process, the suspension of the institutions and the cancellation of the elections result from a British government fixation with protecting the interests of one sections of unionism. Sinn Féin has repeatedly argued that the peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be subject to the whims of, or the internal divisions within, the UUP. Yet this is exactly what has happened. The British government is fixated with the divisions within the UUP and the peace process has been paralysed as a result.

"The Good Friday Agreement was endorsed by a majority of the Irish people. It is undemocratic and unacceptable that a minority of a minority should hold the entire process to ransom.

"Of course the UUP leadership's excuse for all of this is that the IRA's position is not clear. It is disappointing to hear the SDLP breath credibility into this most recent unionist excuse for resisting change. The IRA's position is absolutely clear. In contrast, the attitude of the UUP, and its various factions, towards the Good Friday Agreement is anything but clear. Of course, many suspect that the UUP's resistance to an early election is mirrored within the SDLP and that this may explain their support for the UUP stance.

" The British government must end its fixation with the internal dynamics of the UUP and instead focus on delivering upon its commitments under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. That means setting a date for the cancelled Assembly election and it means re-establishing the political institutions which anchor this process."ENDS

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