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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 07:41 GMT
Adams to press for US input
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams has spent the past week in the United States
Gerry Adams is to press for continued US involvement in the Northern Ireland political process.

The Sinn Fein President said he would make the case during a meeting with President Bush's special envoy Mitchell Reiss at a meeting in Washington.

Wednesday's talks come at the end of Mr Adams' week-long visit to the United States.

In the past week he has met US Congress members, senators and governors to update them on the political process.

"I have also attended a number of functions organised by Friends Of Sinn Fein," he said.

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"The US continues to be a vital component in securing the peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Wednesday's meeting with Mitchell Reiss will provide an early opportunity in the wake of last week's presidential election to urge all those in the US and particularly within the administration to continue to play this important role."

The institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended two years ago amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.

On Monday, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said it would be an "enormous tragedy" if a breakthrough was not made in the political process in the next two weeks.

Mr Ahern would be better spending his time ensuring that Sinn Fein/IRA decommission all of its weapons in a way that satisfies everyone and brings to an end all of its activities
Ian Paisley
DUP leader

Mr Ahern warned that if the current window of opportunity was lost, it could delay progress until 2006.

"We are so near," he said. "But I fear some think there is some tactical advantage to be gained by long-fingering this.

"But they are wrong, really wrong, and should reflect very closely on where we have moved and what's on offer."

Mr Ahern called on the parties to consider whether it was a good tactical move to leave the entire process on the back-burner until 2006.

Intensive political talks

However, DUP leader Ian Paisley said it was "outrageous that Bertie Ahern is now in the business of lecturing unionists to admit Sinn Fein/IRA into the government of Northern Ireland".

This was "at a time when his own party refuses to countenance Sinn Fein in power in the Republic", he said on Tuesday.
Bertie Ahern warned progress could be delayed until 2006
Bertie Ahern warned progress could be delayed until 2006

"Mr Ahern would be better spending his time ensuring that Sinn Fein/IRA decommission all of its weapons in a way that satisfies everyone and brings to an end all of its activities," he said.

At the conclusion of intensive political talks at Leeds Castle in Kent in September, Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Mr Ahern said the thorny issues of IRA disarmament and future paramilitary activity appeared to be resolved.

However, the two governments were unable to get the Northern Ireland Assembly parties to sign up to a deal over power-sharing after unionists and nationalists clashed over future devolved institutions.

The sticking points have included the method of electing a first and deputy first minister, a date when the assembly can control policing, and whether or not 30 assembly members can challenge ministerial decisions.




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