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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
SF calls for on-the-runs amnesty
Gerry Kelly
Gerry Kelly wants an amnesty for republicans on the run from police
The issue of on-the-run paramilitaries needs to be resolved, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly has said.

The North Belfast assembly member said the British government should take action before or during next week's intensive talks in Scotland.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds has warned any bid to push through an amnesty for on-the-runs would be a deal breaker.

However, Mr Kelly insists the British government has promised to enable paramilitary fugitives to return home.

"They have not at any time said they're not going to do it, but they did make a mess of it when they introduced the state forces and people involved in collusion and all the rest," he said.

"That's a difficulty that the British should sort out - they should sort it out before we get to Scotland but if not, they should sort it out in Scotland."

Speaking on Saturday Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the return of on-the-run paramilitaries was an issue for the Government.

"This is not a deal breaker, it is an issue that needs to be resolved. You can come at this as a huge, insurmountable, problem or you can come at it as something which needs to be sorted," he said.

"All of these matters need to be resolved. Here we are facing into the opportunity to put working, functioning, institutions back in and deal with all of the issues and up comes this.

"It has to be dealt with but it's not a pre-condition, it's not a deal breaker."

Speaking on Friday, Mr Dodds said: "The government needs to listen loud and clear - if they agree to, propose or acquiesce in any terrorist amnesty, then the prospects of a deal to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland will be destroyed."

The British government has laid down 24 November as the deadline for a deal to be reached over the restoration of devolution.

The main parties meet next week in the Scottish town of St Andrew's for intensive talks.


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