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19 May 2005 Edition

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Sinn Féin determined to make progress

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams on Wednesday morning led a party delegation including Michelle Gildernew and Gerry Kelly to meet with the US Special envoy Mitchell Reiss in Belfast.

Speaking after the meeting, Adams said that the party had welcomed the opportunity to meet with Reiss and brief him on the current situation. "From our discussions I am confident that the US administration remains committed to the Peace Process and to playing a constructive role in support for efforts to rebuild it," he said.

Today, Adams, along with senior negotiator Martin McGuinness MP, party Vice President Pat Doherty MP, Michelle Gildernew MP, Conor Murphy MP and Mary Lou McDonald MEP, travel to London to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair. "Sinn Féin is intent on achieving the re-establishment of the power sharing Executive, the political institutions and the all-Ireland Bodies," said Adams. "I told Mr Reiss that while we all await the outcome of the IRA's internal discussion, others have responsibilities also — not least the British and Irish Governments and the DUP. Sinn Féin is determined to rebuild the Peace Process.

"We want to resolve all of the outstanding issues. This will require a collective effort to move it forward. It will particularly require the British Government to demonstrate to the DUP a determination to push ahead with the implementation of those aspects of the Agreement, demilitarisation, equality, human rights, collusion, Irish language policing and justice, irrespective of that party's attitude to the political institutions."

The Sinn Féin President also took the opportunity to brief Reiss on the situation in the Basque Country. Adams was there several months ago and met the President of the Basque region, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, and the leader of Batasuna, Arnaldo Otegi.

"It is our view that an opportunity exists to make progress in that situation and yesterday's vote in the Spanish Parliament, and the outcome of the recent elections in the Basque country, are further evidence of that," said Adams.

On Tuesday, the Spanish parliament voted to allow the government to engage in discussions with ETA on condition that the group renounces violence.

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