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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 08:34 GMT
Adams offers to meet dissidents
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams said there is an alternative to violence
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has offered to meet other republican groups, including dissidents, to discuss his party's peace strategy.

His offer comes ahead of a series of public meetings before Sinn Fein's conference to debate policing.

He said he wanted to impress upon the INLA, CIRA and RIRA that the current Sinn Fein strategy was the way forward.

Mr Adams said a peaceful and democratic alternative to violence now existed for achieving a free and united Ireland.

He said the conditions, which in the past had led to republican armed actions, had fundamentally changed.

"Armed struggle was never a republican principle. It was an option of last resort in the absence of any other alternative," he said.

"But, there is now an alternative. There is a peaceful way to achieve political change, equality, justice and ultimately Irish freedom."

The Sinn Fein president said he was appealing to those groups engaged in armed actions to end them.

Policing meeting

"I do not want to see any other people killed or imprisoned as a result of their activities," he said.

"I want to meet with these organisations to brief them in detail on current developments and impress upon them my belief that the current Sinn Fein strategy is the best way forward for our community and for the wider republican struggle."

Meanwhile, about 400 republicans opposed to policing have attended a debate in Londonderry.

Sinn Fein had been invited but did not attend.

Gerry McGeogh, a former Sinn Fein national executive member, told the meeting his former colleagues were "waddling into 10 Downing Street for orders from the British government".

"There is nothing for us to do in 10 Downing Street," he said.

"All 10 Downing Street have to do is say they are leaving Ireland once and for all."




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