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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Sinn Fein council to vote on policing
Downing Street talks lasted for an hour
Downing Street talks lasted for an hour
A final decision on whether Sinn Fein joins the Northern Ireland Policing Board will be decided by the party's ruling council, Gerry Adams has said.

Speaking after talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Sinn Fein president also described the appointment of a violence monitor as "a distraction".

A party delegation held hour-long talks with Mr Blair and Secretary of State John Reid in Downing Street on Wednesday.


Over the last 18 months/two years Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid has failed to bring about changes required

Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein leader

Dr Reid announced the appointment of the monitor who will advise the government over acts of violence following the meeting.

Mr Adams said he doubted if the appointment would persuade dissident unionists to back the Good Friday Agreement.

'Central reason'

The meeting was the latest in a series the prime minister is having with the local parties.

Mr Adams said concerns about policing, continuing loyalist violence and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement were discussed.

Prime Minister Tony Blair
Sinn Fein said it pushed Tony Blair over policing

He warned Mr Blair not to be distracted by the Iraqi crisis or divisions within Unionism

"None of us can afford to be distracted from the central reason for the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"What is the central reason? British rule in Ireland is intrinsically undemocratic. So the Good Friday Agreement is a process of change - to try and bring about on a range of issues a modicum of equality for all of the citizens.

"That has to be the ongoing focus and the British prime minister has to face up to that and we put that to him."

Earlier, the Sinn Fein president said: "There is increasing concern that the government runs the risk of losing the strategic vision it showed in relation to Ireland with the Good Friday Agreement.

"Over the last 18 months/two years (Northern Ireland Secretary) John Reid has failed to bring about changes required."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams:
"John Reid has been totally tactical in all of these matters"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

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See also:

18 Sep 02 | N Ireland
13 Sep 02 | N Ireland
12 Sep 02 | N Ireland
12 Sep 02 | N Ireland
09 Sep 02 | N Ireland
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