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Gerry Adams
"Lets go forward"
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David Trimble
"Everything I have done has been in accordance with the Mitchell Review"
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Friday, 14 January, 2000, 06:40 GMT
Adams predicts united Ireland

Gerry Adams after his White House meeting Gerry Adams: Washington meeting "very positive"

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has predicted there could be a united Ireland in 16 years time.

Mr Adams made the comment to rousing applause at a rally for party supporters in New York on Thursday night.

The Search for Peace
More related to this story
George Mitchell Profile
Link to Good Friday Agreement
Link to Decommissioning
He said the logic of the peace process would lead to unification - perhaps by the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, which was seen a turning point for Irish nationalism.

"If we want to make progress then there is no reason whatsoever, from someone who has dealt with the unionists close up, who has dealt with the British close up, no reason why we cannot celebrate the 1916 Rising in the year 2016, in a free and united Ireland."

During his visit to the United States this week, Mr Adams has said ultimatums would not work in relation to IRA disarmament.

Speaking after a 45-minute meeting in the White House with US president Bill Clinton, Mr Adams called on Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble to "be leaderly" in helping to move the peace process forward.

Mr Adams described his Washington meeting as "very positive" but warned First Minister Mr Trimble about the Unionist's attempts to set a deadline for the decommissioning of IRA weapons.

He said: "I look to David Trimble to be leaderly about all of these matters.

"Deadlines, ultimatums have not worked anywhere in the world, in terms of trying to get peace processes to come to democratic conclusions.

"Let's go forward empowered by the progress that has been made life so much better for people on the island of Ireland."

Ministerial visit

Party colleague, Education Minister Martin McGuinness, is also in America. He is the first member of the recently appointed power-sharing executive to make a ministerial visit to Washington.

Mr McGuinness is thought to be meeting his opposite number in the Clinton administration, Secretary of State for Education Richard Riley, on Friday to discuss areas and issues of mutual interest and co-operation on Friday.

The meetings are part of a visit by senior members of the party to the United States, including Caoimhghin O Caolain, the only Sinn Fein member of the Irish Parliament.

David Trimble: Urged to lead his party
Earlier this week Mr Adams said he believed republicans had "stretched" themselves to meet unionists' demands on paramilitary decommissioning and devolution.

He also urged Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble to remain "truthful and true to the Good Friday Agreement".

Ulster Unionists are meeting in February to review a decision to go into government with Sinn Fein, prior to the handover of terrorist weapons. Mr Trimble has threatened to resign and collapse the new institutions at Stormont if the IRA have not started to decommission by the time they meet.

Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern is reported to be insisting that the decommissioning deadline of May - as set out in the Good Friday Agreement - must be met.

Bertie Ahern: Deadline must be met
Mr Ahern is quoted in the Irish Times as saying: "Old arguments about surrender are no longer relevant".

He is said to have made the comments during a visit to south Africa.

Speaking to the country's institute for international affairs, he is reported to have said: "Decommissioning of arms by May 2000 was part of the agreement and cannot be dodged in any way.

"How can you say an organisation surrenders by decommissioning when you have two senior members inside the cabinet directing policy.
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See also:
05 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
US to hear NI peace latest
03 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Clinton hails Northern Ireland's 'compromise'

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