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6 February 2003 Edition

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Ball in British court

Again this week, as we go to print, there is media speculation about the prospect of a signficant IRA move in the coming weeks. Sinn Féin sources tell us, however, that such speculation has no basis in fact but has come about as a result of government briefings in an attempt to shift the onus away from the two administrations and onto republicans.

It is now four months since the British government suspended the institutions Soon after the suspension, British Prime Minister Tony Blair came to Belfast and admitted that his government had not fulfilled its commitments under the Agreement. Since then, Sinn Féin has asked both governments to provide their plan to move the situation out of crisis and bring about the full implementation of the Agreement. As of yet, however, here has been nothing to indicate that the British are up for the full implementation of the Agreement.

Last week, Martin McGuinness met with US special envoy Richard Haass. The Sinn Féin chief negotiator described the meeting as a very good engagement and said that the US Administration stands ready and willing to help the Irish peace process in any way that it can.

This week, Haass has been in Ireand for a series of meetings, including with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on Monday evening and with Sinn Féin again on Wednesday.

Next week, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern travel to the North to meet with each of the parties individually. It is to be hoped that they will have a plan to present.

From previous meetings, they will be well aware of the views of all parties, including Sinn Féin's. The party provided both governments with a comprehensive document outlining in detail the areas that have not been implemented.

Nothing that Sinn Féin has put to the British government is new. The British know that the institutions must be restored and that movement is needed across a range of issues, including equality, human rights, demilitarisation, policing and justice.

The full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement is the key to making progress on all fronts.
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