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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Sinn Fein anger over suspension
The government's decision to suspend the devolved institutions has been described by Sinn Fein as a "body blow" for the Good Friday Agreement.

The move to suspend the institutions temporarily, was announced by the Secretary of State, Dr John Reid, on Friday.

It came after the failure of the main pro-Agreement parties to accept in full the British Irish package of proposals aimed at resolving the political impasse.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the decision was contrary to the Good Friday Agreement and the second time in 18 months the British Government had "succumbed to a unionist veto".

"I am sure that nationalists and republicans will be both frustrated and angered by the decision," he said.


Until they become real democrats and get rid of their illegal arms they cannot share power with us in the longer term

John Taylor UUP

"What the British Government have done is to reward David Trimble for his intransigence and his failure to give leadership on the Agreement."

However, the Ulster Unionist Party's John Taylor said responsibility for re-instating the institutions lay with nationalists.

"We can't go on obviously for every six weeks from now until Christmas," he said.

"We must wait and see what happens on decommissions, and what happens on policing.

'Regrettable'

Mr Taylor said his party wanted to be part of a power-sharing executive, but only with "real democrats".

"We want to have a successful devolved institution here in Northern Ireland at Stormont.

"We want to share power with people of all religions and all politics, but until they become real democrats and get rid of their illegal arms they cannot share power with us in the longer term."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said all sides could make more progress once the review was completed.

Seamus Mallon
Seamus Mallon: "Highly regrettable"
"When we have come so far I think most people would agree with both governments that we should allow the parties more time to bridge the remaining gaps," he said.

Meanwhile, the SDLP deputy leader, Seamus Mallon, said it was "highly regrettable" that Dr Reid had taken the decision to suspend the institutions.

"Political instability cannot be achieved by stop-go arrangements or against the background of continuing uncertainty.

"This means resolving the remaining issues.

'Wanton abuse'

"Progress has been made in a number of these areas and there are some indications of potential for further progress."

Mr Mallon called on all paramilitary groups, to put the International Indpendent Commission on Decommissioning in "a position to report progress on the putting of weapons completely and verifiably beyond use".

"The British Government must now fulfill its promises."

However, the anti-Agreement Democratic Unionist Party said Dr Reid had "wantonly abused the law by suspending the assembly instead of calling an election".

Deputy leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson, said Dr Reid's actions would fail and that eventually he would be forced to have "the renegotiation the unionist people require".

John Reid will discuss next step with Brian Cowen
John Reid: To meet Brian Cowen on Saturday

Meanwhile, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, said the re-instatement of the assembly was "vital" and that his government would keep striving to resolve all the outstanding issues.

He said he had urged Dr Reid for the "shortest possible period of suspension".

"The Irish Government believes that not one working day should be lost in resolving the outstanding problems so that the agreement is fully implemented."

Mr Cowen will meet with the secretary of state at Hillsborough Castle on Saturday.

The leader of the Alliance Party, Seamus Close, said he was not surprised that "the best efforts of the two governments have failed".

"Failure has come about through a mixture of incompetence and an absence of goodwill," he said.


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