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Eight-Point Plan submitted by the SDLP, to the Prime Minister Tony Blair on 18 April 2000

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Research: Fionnuala McKenna
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Eight-Point Plan submitted by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair on 18 April 2000

In its meeting with the Prime Minister today the SDLP will emphasise a series of points which we felt must be taken into account in the search for a resolution to the current impasse.

The urgency of restoring confidence in the political process. The absence of a clear process to enable all of the pro-agreement parties to address the current impasse has created a very serious vacuum which is contributing to that loss of confidence.

The SDLP will stress that as far as breaking the current impasse is concerned, a clear implementation programme is required. Such a programme should identify what the two governments will do, what the pro-agreement parties must do and what all must do jointly.

The two governments should indicate how progress will be made on such matters as: full implementation of the Patten report; reform of the criminal justice system; human rights and equality; normalisation.

The pro-agreement parties should affirm a commitment to engaging with and to involving themselves fully in the operation of all of the political institutions while the executive parties should indicate their plans to achieve a common programme for government.

Both governments and all of the pro-agreement parties should, on the basis that decommissioning is an indispensable part of the process of negotiations, reaffirm their commitment to working constructively and in good faith with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning to achieve progress on the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. They should also call upon all paramilitary organisations to re-establish contacts with the commission in a manner which will enable it to fulfil its mandate.

The suspension legislation should be repealed and it should be made clear that never again would precipitate and unilateral action be taken to suspend the political institutions of the Good Friday agreement.

A means by which the process of implementing the Good Friday agreement would be kept under regular review should be established by both governments and involve all the pro-agreement parties. Regular contacts should be maintained and meetings convened at regular intervals.

On the basis of the above the two governments should announce a firm date on which the political institutions would be reinstated and by which progress would have been made towards the implementation of all of the other aspects of the agreement.

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