Wednesday, April 7, 1999 Published at 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
McGuinness adamant on arms
Only the Loyalist Volunteer Force has started to disarm
No prospect exists of the IRA agreeing to decommission any of its weapons or explosives as a precondition, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator has insisted ahead of crucial talks next week.
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern suggested the IRA could take part in a collective act of reconciliation, which would include putting some arms "beyond use".
He told BBC Radio Foyle: "I am working on the basis that there is no prospect whatsoever for the IRA to decommission anything as a precondition to Sinn Fein's participation in an executive.
"I don't believe the IRA are going to jump to any ultimatum or demand issued either by David Trimble or those elements within the British military establishment who have hung unto this issue in a very unrealistic and unrealisable way over the course of the last four years."
Arms decommissioning has remained the stumbling block to the implementation of last year's Good Friday Agreement past its first anniversary.
The Ulster Unionists continue to refuse to sit in the Northern Ireland Assembly's executive council with Sinn Fein before IRA arms disposal begins.
After intensive talks last week, the province's political leaders reportedly came close to a deal, before announcing they would meet again on Tuesday.
Under the declaration put forward, Sinn Fein would be allowed to take up its two seats, based on a guarantee that the IRA would "voluntarily" dispose of some weapons at the reconciliation ceremony.
Mr McGuinness said Sinn Fein would seek to find a way through the impasse when the talks resume. But he reiterated the strong resistance with the republican community to enforced decommissioning.
"The history of republicanism and the demeanour of republicanism from time immemorial clearly shows that they are not going to bend the knee to the demands of elements of the British military establishment, or unionism," he said.
"Particularly if their assessment is that this is seen as an issue which can divide republicanism on this island."
Mr Blair and Mr Ahern have not yet stated whether or when they will attend next week's talks.
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