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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Leaders meet over unionist threat
Mark Durkan and Gerry Adams
Mark Durkan and Gerry Adams met at Stormont
The government must not suspend Northern Ireland's political institutions if unionist ministers resign, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has warned.

He was speaking after talks with SDLP leader Mark Durkan on Tuesday over the threat by the Ulster Unionist leader to pull his ministers out of the power-sharing executive.

David Trimble announced on Saturday that he had set an 18 January deadline for republicans to demonstrate they had left violence behind.

But Gerry Adams called on the government to press ahead with the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble
David Trimble said republicans must meet deadline
"This is encouraging for those loyalists who are involved in a sectarian campaign.

"This gives them the notion that they can win.

"Tony Blair should not be following the unionist agenda and should not be even contemplating suspension of the institutions," said Mr Adams.

'Tougher line

Mark Durkan met other pro-Agreement parties on Tuesday, including the Women's Coalition and the Progressive Unionist Party.

Speaking afterward's, the SDLP leader said it was important for all the pro-Agreement parties to to make it clear they were standing by the deal brokered in 1998.

He said he would have no problem holding a meeting with David Trimble as leader of the Ulster Unionists.

But he added that he would rather see all the parties meet together with the British and Irish governments.

At Saturday's meeting of the UUP's ruling council, hardliners pressed Mr Trimble to adopt a tougher line against Sinn Fein following claims of republican paramilitary activity.

Mr Trimble said his party would also impose the immediate sanction on republicans of ending Ulster Unionist participation in North-South Ministerial Council meetings in which Sinn Fein was involved.

He said Sinn Fein should have been preparing the IRA for the "inevitable".

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid is to invite the political parties to meetings aimed at defusing tension over the decision to set a deadline for peace.

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 ON THIS STORY
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams:
"Instability encourages loyalist paramilitaries"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

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See also:

22 Sep 02 | N Ireland
21 Sep 02 | N Ireland
21 Sep 02 | N Ireland
19 Sep 02 | N Ireland
19 Sep 02 | N Ireland
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