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Completion of demilitarisation and end of political policing required - Alex Maskey

8 March, 2006

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has described today's report by the IMC on demilitarisation as irrelevant and called for a speedy completion by the British Government of a full programme of demilitarisation, including the dismantling of its entire war machinery and an end to political policing.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

"Today‚s IMC report on demilitarisation is irrelevant. The IMC is a discredited body and cannot be relied upon to deliver an objective or independent assessment of progress on demilitarisation.

"The British Government committed to a rolling programme of demilitarisation. The facts of the matter are that there has only been a minimal reduction in British Troop deployment in the north of Ireland in the past year. There are presently over 9000 British soldiers based in the Six Counties. There are also a large number of British army bases.

"The closure of a number of observation posts in South Armagh is of course welcome. However, recent revelations about the British Army spying operations in the area along with growing evidence of an increase in incidents of political policing throughout the north suggests that the British Government are more interested in the transformation of their war machinery in the north of Ireland rather than dismantling it.

"Political progress requires the British Government to commit to peaceful and democratic activity. They must end their war against nationalists and republicans. This requires the speedy completion of a full programme of demilitarisation and the end to political policing." ENDS

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