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4 September 1997 Edition

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It's up to Trimble

Much of the onus for the commencement of real negotiations on the future of Ireland now rests with Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble.

Sinn Féin enters the talks for the first time next Tuesday 9 September for a plenary session which is due to be followed on 15 September by substantive negotiations.

Trimble's party has not ruled out sitting down with Sinn Féin on that date but three UUP MPs came out in public this week in opposition to their party's presence at the table. Trimble himself has said that substantive issues will not be dealt with on 15 September. He is still clinging to the bogus decommissioning demand as a precondition to progress, having lost the battle to make it a precondition to Sinn Féin's entry to talks.

Trimble's party has been carrying out consultations with sections of opinion in the Six Counties over the past few weeks. If those consultations reflect the mood on the ground and across the political spectrum the message Trimble will have got is a simple one - `Talk!'' For too long unionist people have been misled by demagogues and reactionaries who could face neither the present nor the future. Now they are at a crossroads. It's up to Trimble to provide real leadership this time.
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