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12 January 2006 Edition

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British withdraw OTR legislation

Peter Hain

Peter Hain

Peter Hain, British Secretary of State in the Six Counties announced on Wednesday that the British government was to withdraw its proposed legislation for On The Runs (OTRs).

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said it was a recognition that the legislative proposal was unacceptable. "It was a major breach of what was agreed at Weston Park and a serious act of bad faith by the British government. I told the British Prime Minister and the British Secretary of State Peter Hain directly that if the British government was not prepared to change the legislation to remove the inclusion of British state forces then the legislation should be withdrawn. They have now done so", he said.

Adams pointed out however that the issue of OTRs still had to be resolved. "Responsibility for this rests with the British government. This is an anomaly which affects only a very small number of people who should be allowed to return to their homes and their families", he said.

"The issue of collusion and state violence is a much more fundamental issue. Sinn Fein, our party activists, families and friends were a primary target for British controlled loyalist death squads. It is critical that the recent focus on the issue of collusion, particularly by those who ignored the issue in the past, is maintained. The families must be supported in their campaign for justice and the truth. Sinn Fein will continue to confront the British government on collusion, state violence and their on-going efforts to hide the truth", said Adams.

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