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22 May 1997 Edition

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Demanding real talks

Sinn Féin met British government officials in Stormont Castle on Wednesday and all the signs indicate that there is renewed momentum for a rebuilt peace process.

Speaking after the meeting Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said there were differences between the two sides but the difficulties could be overcome. McGuinness said Sinn Féin was seeking an end to ``British domination and British injustice''. Another meeting between the two sides is to be scheduled.

The meeting with British officials came about after a keynote speech by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Belfast on 16 May. Blair defended the Union and the unionist veto. He also said his officials would meet Sinn Féin and the party quickly agreed in order to help rebuild the peace process.

On the day the Stormont meeting took place voters were going to the polls in local elections across the Six Counties. A significant increase in the Sinn Féin share of seats is expected. Throughout the three weeks since the 1 May general election the two new Sinn Féin MPs have been deefending their voters' rights. On Monday 19 May they were representing them at Westminster.
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