20 April 2000 Edition
In its annual Easter message, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has again avowed its commitment to republican objectives and the search for a durable peace. The full text of the IRA statement is as follows:
The British government cannot hide behind or underwrite, unionist intransigence, or those who seek a military victory over the IRA
``The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann extends fraternal greetings to republican activists, supporters and friends at home and abroad.
On this, the 84th anniversary of the Easter Rising, we commemorate all of those who have given their lives for Irish freedom. Without their efforts and sacrifice the present opportunity for a just resolution of the conflict would not exist. We extend our solidarity to the families of our fallen Volunteers.
We extend solidarity to our imprisoned comrades and their families.
We commend the steadfast commitment and discipline of the Volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann.
We reaffirm our commitment to our republican objectives.
The IRA wants to see a permanent peace in our country.
Over the past five years we have called and maintained cessations of military operations. We have contributed in a meaningful way to the creation of a climate which would facilitate the search for a durable peace settlement.
In November 1999, in yet another demonstration of our commitment in the search for a durable peace, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann took an initiative to break the political logjam that had existed for the previous 18 months. The subsequent actions of the Ulster Unionist Party in its imposition of a deadline and Peter Mandelson's accusation of betrayal were clear acts of bad faith.
Regrettably, the British government's war with republicans continues with ongoing British Intelligence covert surveillance operations, with the remilitarisation of South Armagh, Tyrone, Belfast and other areas of the Six Counties. The RUC continues with its recruiting of informers and the harassment of nationalists on a daily basis. Those who seek a military victory need to understand that this cannot and will not happen.
In addition to this, the British government's unilateral decision to collapse the political institutions in February highlights a lack of political will to bring about meaningful change.
The British government cannot hide behind or underwrite, unionist intransigence, or those who seek a military victory over the IRA.
The challenge for everyone remains the removal of the causes of conflict in our country and the British government cannot shirk its responsibility in that challenge.
This conflict is caused by British involvement in Irish affairs, partition and the injustices which flow from that.
The British government must accept and deliver on its responsibilities in delivering the meaningful change required to create a durable peace.''
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau,
British hold the key
BY SEAN BRADY
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has warned of the consequences of failing to reach agreement on breaking the impasse in the Peace Process over the coming weeks.
Adams said that the British government have a ``crucial and pivotal role in turning the key to opening up this Agreement''.
``If they don't do it we're into the marching season, we're into Garvaghy Road, were into all that flows from that. We're into a summer where things are unanchored'', Adams said.
A Sinn Féin delegation led by Gerry Adams met British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday. Sinn Féin has been in regular contact with all of the pro-Agreement parties and the Irish and British governments in recent weeks.
Prior to the meeting at Hillsborough Castle with Tony Blair, Adams said Sinn Féin wanted to find out from the British Prime Minister how his government proposes to sort out the crisis caused by the collapse of the political institions under the Agreement.
Adams said Sinn Féin intended telling the British government that the decision which Peter Mandelson took in February was in breach of the Agreement and against the wishes of the Irish people expressed in referenda north and south and that this decision should now be reversed.
Sinn Féin is seeking certainty from the British government that if the political institutions are re-established they won't be collapsed again when the unionist veto is used. The party is also seeking clarity from the unionists that they intend to fulfil their obligations under the Good Friday Agreement. Any discussions which Sinn Féin have had in recent weeks with the two governments are about working out how to implement the Agreement without further unionist preconditions.
Following the Hillsborough meeting, Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member and Sligo County Councillor Seán MacManus said that the British government had caved in to the resistance to change of the Ulster Unionist Party.
``The onus is on the British government to end the crisis which it has created,'' he said.