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3 February 2005 Edition

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Huge nationalist anger at two governments

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, speaking after leading a Sinn Féin delegation in a meeting with Paul Murphy and his senior officials in Hillsborough on Wednesday, said that the British Secretary of State was under no illusions about the huge anger within the nationalist and republican community at the current mishandling of the situation by the two governments.

Speaking after the hour-long meeting, McGuinness said:

"Mr Blair's comments yesterday that the only obstacle to a comprehensive agreement was the IRA were silly because this is patently not the case. Unionism has not demonstrated that it will share power with nationalist and republicans.

"In fact, last December, when the DUP walked away from power sharing deal that would have seen the political institutions established and the IRA dealing with the issues of arms and activities, showed us that unionism has not accepted power sharing as Mr Blair alleged.

"Both governments are well aware of Sinn Féin's commitment to peaceful and democratic means.

"Sinn Féin has been the engine driving the peace process for the last decade. Sinn Féin's commitment is to make this process work. But as the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister know we cannot do this on our own.

"The process can only move forward on the basis of respect for parties democratic mandates. This is the key. Currently this is absent regarding Sinn Féin and our electorate."

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