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Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK

UK Politics

Blair holds key, says Adams

Gerry Adams enters Downing Street

The leaders of Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists have finished a fresh round of talks with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair without managing to move on the Northern Ireland peace process.

The Search for Peace
After emerging from Downing Street, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams called for swift action to move the process on from the current stumbling block of decommissioning terrorist arms.

He called on the UK and Irish governments to reconvene their recent talks and said Mr Blair "held the key" to enable the Ulster Unionists to move forward from their current position on decommissioning.

Gerry Adams: "The talking could go on for ever"
Mr Adams said he understood the difficulties faced by the Ulster Unionists and called on the prime minister to "create a new context in which Mr Trimble could be assured" over decommissioning.

The Sinn Fein leader also said the talks had had the positive effect of focusing Mr Blair on Northern Ireland but he said unless progress is made "in the next two weeks or so" the "talking could go on forever and the walking in and out of Downing Street could go on forever".

David Trimble: "Republican movement not making progress"
Northern Ireland's First Minister David Trimble, also the Ulster Unionist leader, emerged from the talks earlier saying the current state of the peace process was "not particularly encouraging".

Mr Trimble had held a one-hour meeting with Mr Blair.

[ image: David Trimble:
David Trimble: "Keep pressing away"
He said: "I'm afraid that following the Sinn Fein conference at the weekend things do not seem to be particularly encouraging.

"It does look as if we didn't get the progress there could have been.

"The most optimistic thing we can do at the moment is keep pressing away and hope that in time - and I hope not too long a time - the republican movement will start to implement its part of the agreement."

There is now enormous pressure on the parties to make progress before the onset of the summer marching season in Northern Ireland.

The peace process is stalled because Ulster Unionists will not form an executive in the Northern Ireland Assembly with Sinn Fein without the prior decommissioning of republican paramilitary weapons.

Sinn Fein insists last year's Good Friday Agreement does not require the disarming of the IRA.

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