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19 October 2006 Edition

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Sinn Féin and PUP in ground breaking initiative

In an historic move, last Thursday 12 October, Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) held a joint press conference in Derry City.

Former Sinn Féin Mayor of Derry Lynn Fleming and Leslie Mitchell of the PUP outlined the progress made through the Joint Engagement Project launched by both parties last month.

The Joint Engagement Project, is an initiative through which Sinn Féin and the PUP are working to reduce sectarian tensions in the city.

"We want to reduce community tension and hope that the efforts we are making will help address this", said Fleming.

PUP representative Leslie Mitchell while acknowledging there had been some, "negative feedback", from people in the unionist community went on to say that he, "didn't have a problem working with Sinn Féin if it was to solve a problem and help resolve a problem on the ground".

As well as tackling community tensions and interface violence the Joint Engagement Project also outlines the parties intentions to tackle inequality, and social exclusion.

Added Fleming, "as part of our commitment to build a better future for all of us, our children and our grandchildren we have agreed a mission statement and set out aims and objectives that will shape a programme intended to heal the social, sectarian and racist fractures in our society".

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