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Statement by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern following the publication of the Thirteenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), (30 Janauary 2007)

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Text: Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Joint Statement by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), following the publication of the Thirteenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), (30 Janauary 2007)


Taking the Final Steps

"We met this evening to review progress on the implementation of the St Andrews Agreement.

There has been significant and welcome progress since St Andrews and we remain fixed in our determination to see shared government returned to the people of Northern Ireland. Since St Andrews we have agreed practical changes to the operation of the institutions, we have announced financial packages to help underpin restoration and we have made progress across a range of equality, human rights, victims and social exclusion issues.

The Sinn Fein Ard Fheis on policing opens up the prospect of inclusive support for policing across the entire community and today's IMC Report provides further important reassurance that Northern Ireland has moved on and can look forward to a peaceful future. Our purpose now is to ensure that Northern Ireland can build on all of these positive developments through the restoration of shared accountable government committed to serving all of the people.

There is no reason for any further delay.

The Assembly election due to be held on 7 March is an integral part of the process and timetable agreed at St Andrews. It is being held for the explicit purposes of endorsing the St Andrews Agreement and of electing an Assembly that will form a power-sharing Executive on 26 March in accordance with that agreement and timeframe. If at any point it became clear that parties were unwilling to fulfil their commitments in the St Andrews Agreement to the twin pillars of power-sharing on 26 March and support for policing, it would be unreasonable to expect the people of Northern Ireland to continue with an election to an Assembly which would not exist.

The Governments are proceeding on the basis that all parties understand and accept this position and that they also understand that the Assembly to be elected on 7 March will be dissolved, in accordance with the law, if it fails to meet its legal responsibilities fully by 26 March.

We have prepared new partnership arrangements in the event they are required. But we have made clear that this is not our preferred outcome. After four years of suspension, the people of Northern Ireland are entitled to see devolved government restored and their elected representatives working actively and openly for them in a fully restored Assembly and shared government."


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