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9 December 2004 Edition

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A good deal but humiliation a non-runner

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, speaking at a press conference in Belfast on Wednesday evening, said that the comprehensive agreement presented by the two governments is a good deal which reflects accurately the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement, including its power-sharing, all-Ireland and equality provisions. He said that the only obstacle we face is the DUP's unrealisable demand for the humiliation of Irish republicans.

"Firstly, let me begin by repeating Sinn Féin's response to the comprehensive agreement as presented to us by the governments," said Adams. "This is a good deal which reflects accurately the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement, including its power-sharing, all-Ireland and equality provisions. We have, in addition, made progress across a range of other important issues.

"In relation to the issues which the IRA is responsible for, we made it clear throughout the recent discussions that these were a matter for the IRA. However, I am confident that in the context of a comprehensive agreement that the IRA leadership will resolve these issues. This is a huge contribution which should liberate the entire process. All of the issues of substance have been resolved.

"I have listened to the remarks of the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister this afternoon. I believe that their comments have caused some confusion. Let me clarify them. The issue of photographs was first raised in the week before Leeds Castle. We were told by the two governments that this was a DUP demand. We told the two governments that in our view this was not achievable. We were shocked on 17 November when this demand appeared in their joint proposals. We made clear from the beginning that this was not a runner.

"The only obstacle which we face is the DUP's unrealisable demand for the humiliation of Irish republicans

"I welcome the assertion from Tony Blair that the DUP has agreed to this package, although I have not heard him saying this publicly.

"No one should be in any doubt that a mighty piece of work has been done. We must not lose this."

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