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11 November 1999 Edition

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Decision time

Negotiations under the Mitchell Review are now at a critical point. There is clearly exasperation among people at the length of the review, which has now gone well beyond what was intended. What was supposed to be a ``short, sharp review'' is now into its tenth week.

The prospect of allowing the chance to build a peaceful future for all our people should spur on all of the political representatives involved in the review. There will not be a better time for a political accommodation to be found leading to a peaceful political future for the people of Ireland.

The hope created by the Good Friday Agreement has not been fulfilled because of the failure to implement it. The crisis created by unionism's demands on decommissioning has been protracted. Sinn Féin has done everything in its power to resolve the crisis and to meet unionist terms. The party has taken several initiatives on the issue. Sinn Féin is determined to do all in its power to find a way through the impasse but Sinn Féin alone cannot resolve it. The Ulster Unionists must play their part.

This is clearly a defining moment for the Good Friday Agreement. There is an imperative to get the institutions up and running and so change completely the political atmosphere. It is inconceivable, having gone so far, that there will not be significant political movement this week. At this point there can be no more delays. This is decision time.
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