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Statement by Ian Paisley, then Leader of the DUP, at Leeds Castle, 18 September 2004

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Text: Ian Paisley ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Leeds Castle, 18 September 2004


"The DUP came to Leeds Castle eager to achieve an agreement that would be fair to all the people of Northern Ireland and would provide stable and lasting institutions free from the threat of terror and on a democratic basis.

At our talks in Lancaster House in June we agreed an agenda comprising the issues of bringing about a definitive and conclusive end to all paramilitary activity; the decommissioning, through the IICD, of all paramilitary weapons, to an early timescale and in a manner that builds confidence in the community; a clear commitment on all sides to the stability of the political institutions and to changes in their operation; and to work on the issues of policing and criminal justice.

Throughout the course of the last three days we have engaged seriously on all four issues and we have achieved progress on some matters. What is important for us is that we have entered this process and emerged from it able to look the people of Ulster in the eye and confirm that we are seeking to fulfil our election commitments and every decision taken by us has been consistent with them. Indeed we believe we are making progress where others have failed.

If decommissioning of all IRA weapons and the dismantling of the structures of terrorism is the ultimate outcome of this process, then the goal so longed for by the people of Northern Ireland will have been achieved.

Our entire delegation has worked with dedication, purpose and determination to reach agreement this weekend.  For the first time in this process Unionists have been represented by a party that is united in its vision and its commitment.

I believe that a golden opportunity has been available to realise a stable and entirely peaceful future and I told the Prime Minister that in some respects we have never been closer to solving the problems that have plagued us for decades.

We are committed to stay the course and to deliver a better agreement for all the people of Northern Ireland."


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