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23 May 2002 Edition

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Sinn Féin open to East Belfast talks

Sinn Féin Deputy Chief Whip Conor Murphy has said that Sinn Féin supports dialogue with the objective of resolving conflict in interface areas. Murphy made his remarks after Sinn Féin heard on the radio on Monday that a loyalist residents' group wanted to meet Sinn Féin.

"Sinn Féin absolutely support all dialogue that has the objective of resolving interface tensions," he said. "This dialogue needs to be genuine and inclusive.

"However, we are perplexed at the call from loyalist residents on Sinn Féin to call off attacks when clearly attacks are being orchestrated by the UVF.

"Video evidence, the nine blast devices, the pipe bombs, the hundreds of ball bearing assaults and nightly attacks all provide ample evidence that the Short Strand community is living under siege.

"There has been good contact between the two communities in the past that has been very positive in reducing tension. Sinn Féin will continue to work towards re-establishing such contact that can facilitate direct and inclusive dialogue and lead to the reduction of the problems at these interface areas."

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