McGuinness hails IRA announcement28/07/2005 - 19:36:20
Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness has hailed the IRA’s announcement on the cessation of its armed campaign and claimed it was a decisive initiative.
Speaking in Washington, he said: “It contains the potential to unlock the political stalemate that has frozen the Irish peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
“There is now an inescapable responsibility on the British and Irish governments to push urgently ahead with the implementation of the Agreement and, also, on the leadership of unionism to finally accept the principles of power sharing, equality and human rights.
“Britain’s role in Ireland has historically been negative and divisive. We have seen the consequence of this in every generation particularly since the partition of the island, against the wishes of the Irish people, 80 years ago.
“Today’s momentous decision by the IRA recognises that there is now an opportunity to resolve these historic difficulties peacefully and democratically.”
On the significance of the announcement,Mr McGuinness said: “This places an enormous responsibility on all of us to seize this opportunity to ensure that conflict never happens again.
“We can do this by making politics work. There is a particular responsibility on all of us who argued that there is a political and peaceful way forward to prove this case by delivering real and meaningful progress.
“The two governments have an urgent duty to implement the Agreement in all its aspects. In particular this means that the British government must stop pandering to negative unionism and those in their own system who seek peace only on their own terms.”
Looking to the future, he added: “If others in political leadership here in the United States, in Britain and in Ireland respond to today’s IRA statement in a spirit of generosity and openness, the faltering Irish peace process can be revived and completed successfully.
“The way forward is dialogue, negotiation and accommodation. And in a world beset with conflict and division, the success of the Irish peace process can offer much needed hope for the future.”
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