Adams firm on IRA weapons

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Gerry Adams yesterday refused to compromise over IRA arms as Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and Dick Spring, the Irish foreign minister, sought a way out of the deadlocked peace process, writes Colin Brown.

Blaming the British Government for the impasse, the Sinn Fein president insisted his party would not accept any preconditions to all-party talks.

Mr Adams said on BBC Radio: "I told Sir Patrick Mayhew ... that the IRA were not going to surrender their weapons, were not going to disarm, were not going to decommission unilaterally at this time or as part of a precondition.

"The logjam is the British Government's refusal to play a leadership role and to move the entire situation and all the parties into ... all- party talks where we can sit down and sign agreement, accommodation, about our future."

nConcern over the conditions in which IRA prisoners are held in England posed a threat to the Northern Ireland peace process, it was claimed, writes Ian MacKinnon. A delegation of Irish MPs issued the warning yesterday after meeting inmates at Whitemoor jail.