Adams: No secret deals behind Peace Accord

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The Independent Online

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told supporters tonight that there was no "secret deal or hidden agenda" behind the Good Friday agreement on Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told supporters tonight that there was no "secret deal or hidden agenda" behind the Good Friday agreement on Northern Ireland.

Speaking at a key meeting of his party's policy-directing national executive in Dublin, he acknowledged "wobbles" that had appeared within the republican movement over the Ulster accord following last week's completion of the document's review by former US Senator George Mitchell.

The Sinn Fein president also paid tribute in his address to Ulster Unionist leader and Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble for his contribution to the completion of the Mitchell report.

This weekend Mr Trimble will attempt to persuade the Ulster Unionist Council to approve his acceptance of last week's deal.

Referring to a crucial IRA statement that opened up a potential breakthrough towards advancing the Northern Ireland peace process, Mr Adams declared: "This initiative by the Army was secured as a result of the collective efforts of Sinn Fein, the British and Irish governments - and David Trimble.

"No-one should underestimate the effort which it involved, and I know that all the delegates here are very conscious of the wobbles, worries and concerns which are now opened up within republican activism.

"The reports I have received informally so far indicate a concern about secret deals, hidden agendas and other understandable fears.

"So let me assure you - there is no secret deal.

"This is in everybody's interest - unionist, republican, nationalist and loyalist alike."

Dealing with the contentious issue of decomissioning weapons still held by his party's IRA allies and other paramilitaries, Mr Adams maintained: "All of the parties are agreed that the issue of arms will finally and satisfactorily be settled by the commission headed by General John de Chastelain.

"The Good Friday agreement makes it clear that this issue can only be resolved in the context of an overall settlement."

Mr Adams said a controversy over reported confusing remarks about arms decommissioning made in the United States last week by senior Sinn Fein figures Martin Ferris and Pat Doherty was now closed.

But he stressed that without the commitment of both Mr Ferris and Mr Doherty there would not have been a peace process.

"Sinn Fein worked during the review to save the Good Friday agreement. We want now to see it implemented.

"We want to work with unionists in sorting out those vexed and difficult issues that continue to divide and confuse and separate us."

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