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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 07:19 GMT
Adams backs power-sharing plan
Gerry Adams addressed senior party members in Belfast
Gerry Adams addressed senior party members in Belfast
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has recommended his party should accept the British-Irish proposals to revive power-sharing.

He made the comments to senior party members in Belfast on Monday.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: "Gerry Adams says he believes that Sinn Fein can say yes to the political package that's now being presented."

It came hours after DUP leader Ian Paisley said the main stumbling block to any deal remained decommissioning.

Northern Ireland's political institutions have been suspended since October 2002 amid claims of IRA intelligence-gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.


Mr Adams told a meeting of senior Sinn Fein figures that the party's discussions with the two governments had successfully defended the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement.

He said it had resolved issues of concern and succeeded in strengthening key provisions of the Agreement.

A Sinn Fein spokesman added: "Mr Adams did not discuss the issue of IRA weapons at the meeting, but he made it clear that resolving the issue of weapons was a matter for the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning and the armed groups.

Ian Paisley said republicans had held back progress
Ian Paisley said visible evidence of decommissioning was needed
"He said Sinn Fein believed that the weapons issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of all reasonable people."

Earlier, Mr Paisley met Tony Blair at Downing Street to give his party's response to the proposals.

He repeated a demand for photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning, adding: "If you sin publicly, you have to repent publicly."

Mr Paisley told reporters at Downing Street that an agreement was close.

But he added: "There's nothing wrong with asking a terrorist to surrender his weapon.

If you sin publicly, you have to repent publicly
Ian Paisley
"And there's nothing wrong with asking a person who has been guilty of organising mass murder through the country, and trying to commit genocide of the whole Protestant population of the border, to say: 'Give it up.'"

It is understood Tony Blair and Irish Premier Bertie Ahern are to publish their proposals on Wednesday whether a deal is agreed or not.

Peace dividend

The DUP leader has previously said he does not believe it is for his party to say "yes or no" to the British-Irish proposals.

Meanwhile, three DUP MPs have met Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy to discuss confidence building measures for the unionist community, including the so-called peace dividend.

On his way into the meeting, DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said he was disappointed that the IRA was "dragging its feet" over providing photographic evidence of any future disarmament.

Asked if the DUP might give a conditional "yes" to the proposals with the insistence that photographic evidence must be provided, Mr Robinson said his party was "negotiating a package and wanted a complete package".

Mr Adams has also urged Mr Paisley to accept the deal.

The main issues which have been highlighted in the latest round of intense talks include decommissioning, demilitarisation, policing and future devolved institutions.

There have been intensive negotiations between the two governments and the political parties over the past few weeks.

The current negotiations are being conducted through a series of British and Irish Government intermediaries because the DUP refuses to hold face-to-face talks with Sinn Fein.






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