Britain devious - Adams

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The Independent Online
THE Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, has given his first detailed response to the Anglo-Irish peace declaration and attacked the two governments, while not ruling out a cessation of IRA violence.

In an article in the Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Mr Adams listed one of his most significant complaints about the position of the British Government: that it will not help to persuade the Unionists in Northern Ireland to accept a change in the status of the province.

Mr Adams said: 'The British hold the power to keep the Unionists locked in a negative mindset for ever or abandon them to their fate, or persuade them, to help them along the road to an agreement withthe rest of the people of Ireland. British ministers have stated repeatedly over the past few weeks that they will not join the ranks of the persuaders? Why not?'

The Sinn Fein president accused the British of being 'devious and mischievous in its approach' and Dublin of practising the 'politics of illusion'.

Republicans have also studied closely comments made by John Major in the Commons after last week's joint declaration, in which he stressed his commitment to the Union.

But while he rebutted the idea that the Republicans cannot afford to reject the joint declaration, Mr Adams did not rule out the option of renouncing violence and coming to the negotiating table. That will encourage the two governments.

Mr Adams said the Republicans' task was 'to reflect how far the declaration advances the peace process' and that clarification of some aspects from Dublin was necessary. He also confirmed that a considered response will not be made until after Christmas.

In a separate development Martin McGuinness, a senior member of Sinn Fein, said that the Republican movement might initiate a nationwide consultation exercise. Disussions with Cardinal Cahal Daly and Archbishop Robin Eames could be part of widespread private talks they want to hold as they assess the declaration, he said.

John Hume, the leader of the predominantly nationalist Social, Democratic and Labour Party, who is to hold talks shortly with Mr Adams, said in Belfast: 'I think the initial reaction to this agreement has been one of the most positive that I have ever known in terms of cross-community support.'

Inside Story, pages 17,18

Leading article, page 22