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Statement by Mr. Gerry Adams on Decommissioning, 22 November 1999

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Research: Fionnuala McKenna
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Statement by Sinn Féin president Mr. Gerry Adams, clarifying his party's position on decommissioning, 22 November 1999.

David Trimble has asked me to clarify Sinn Féin's position on decommissioning. I am happy to do this again.

As Mr Trimble knows, this issue is addressed directly in the Good Friday Agreement.

He also knows that Sinn Féin accepts that decommissioning is an essential part of the peace process. All of the parties in the Mitchell review are agreed that the issue of arms will be finally and satisfactorily settled under the aegis of the de Chastelain Commission as set out in the Agreement.

All parties to the agreement have an obligation to help bring decommissioning about. Sinn Féin is committed to discharging our responsibilities in this regard. We have demonstrated this commitment consistently and most recently during the Mitchell review.

Everyone knows that decommissioning can only come about on a voluntary basis. The Good Friday Agreement makes clear that the context required for its resolution is the implementation of the overall settlement, including the operation of its institutions.

This position has been clearly spelt out in a series of statements by our party spokespersons and by me as party president. It is also the position spelt out by us in the discussions we held with the UUP leadership during the Mitchell review.

It is the position put clearly on the record, not only with the Ulster Unionists but with all the other parties, with the British and Irish governments, and with Senator Mitchell.

Indeed, Mr Trimble knows that it was the collective effort of Sinn Féin, the two governments and Mr Trimble himself which secured a commitment from the IRA leadership to appoint a representative to enter into discussions with the de Chastelain Commission.

With the conclusion of the Mitchell review the deal is now in the public arena for all to see. There is no hidden agenda. Sinn Féin's public position is our private position. Our party wants to see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

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