Adams deals blow to peace

A FRESH blow to the hopes of peace in Ulster was delivered last night when Gerry Adams refused to commit his party to rejoining the review of peace talks by the former US senator George Mitchell in September.

Sinn Fein signalled that its co-operation will depend on the outcome of talks between the party's ruling council and the Ulster Unionist Party over the next few weeks.

The Sinn Fein president remained pessimistic about the prospects for closing the gap over the refusal by David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, to join a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein before the IRA has started decommissioning its weapons. Mr Adams told a news conference at Stormont that the UUP did not want change, except on its own terms.

Tony Blair's decision not to reshuffle Mo Mowlam from her post as Northern Ireland Secretary may reassure nationalists, but Peter Robinson, Ian Paisley's deputy in the Democratic Unionist Party, described it as a "disaster". "I don't think anybody in the Unionist community has any confidence in her at all," he said.