Words without agreement, without a handshake: An edited version of the the confrontation on CNN's Larry King satellite TV show

Click to follow
The Independent Online
KEN MAGINNIS: I most certainly don't trust Gerry. I don't know who Gerry is. I don't think he knows who he is . . .

LARRY KING: So you don't trust the ceasefire, you don't trust any of the recent occurrences?

MAGINNIS: If someone is sitting on over 100 tons of arms how on earth do you trust them? . . . You don't enter the democratic process with some seven surface-to-air missiles, with 1,200 assault rifles . . . That's not the way to do it.

GERRY ADAMS: . . . I have acknowledged, in Ireland, the suffering that has been inflicted by Republicans upon others. I myself have been a victim of terrorism. I have no monopoly on suffering. I think it's time to move to put it down to friendship, to shake hands, to move forward.

MAGINNIS: I think it's possible that anybody can change. But I haven't seen the tangible evidence.

KING: What is tangible?

ADAMS: Well Larry . . . if I am all these things, why has this man travelled halfway around the world to be here? If I wanted an excuse not to talk to Mr Maginnis I have plenty of excuses . . . I don't want an excuse not to talk to him. I want to live in peace with him . . . There's no difference between us except one of political allegiance.

KING: Well, can't you say the ceasefire is permanent?

ADAMS: I can say that I want the permanent peace. I can say we need to build on this.

MAGINNIS: The reality is that we haven't had a straight answer. You ask me a straight question, Larry, I'll give you a straight answer . . . You ask Gerry Adams a straight question, he'll equivocate. Now he will not tell you it's permanent because he doesn't know whether it's permanent or not, it appears to me . . .

ADAMS: It's over a month since the IRA ceased, completely, its military operations. In that period, those who you support have continued military operations throughout the occupied area. Why would you not call on them to stop? I represent people. I'm not here on an ego trip, Ken. I'm here to advance a peace process.

KING: Are you prepared to apologise for past actions?

ADAMS: I am prepared to apologise for all those - to all those who have been hurt, who have been killed.

KING: Can we, Gerry, tonight on all sides, repudiate terrorism?

ADAMS: I want to see the complete end. And I repudiate any terrorism in my country. I have no problems whatsoever. I would like to say that Irish Republicanism was founded by Protestants. Irish Republicanism is a secular philosophy which recognises the contribution of the Protestant section of our people. And Ken Maginnis is one of my people. So he needs to join with us in all of this.

MAGINNIS: I'm certainly not one of Gerry Adams' people. Let me assure you of that. But, can I say that, that one of the rights of any group of people is the right of choice? And then the responsibility is to abide by the choice that people make. Now, in Northern Ireland, the people have chosen to remain part of the United Kingdom.

KING: John Hume nominated for the Nobel Prize. Does he deserve it?

MAGINNIS: I'd like to think if there is peace, that the Nobel Peace Prize goes to the person who played the biggest part in achieving that.

KING: And he did?

MAGINNIS: But maybe, maybe the people of Northern Ireland, the 90 per cent who reject violence, deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

KING: Do you both agree that John Hume should get it?

ADAMS: Well, I certainly agree. But I want, I want to make . .

KING: This will be historic. Do you both agree John Hume . . .

MAGINNIS: I mean, I don't, I don't believe we should be talking about prizes.

CALLER: Are you willing to move forward to do what it takes to bring some peace in this corner of the world?.

MAGINNIS: Of course I'm willing. Of course. I've been striving for that for 25 years.

KING: And you are willing, right Gerry?

ADAMS: Yes. And not only am I willing, but we have moved forward. And I also think that Ken, by coming here, has moved forward also. I think it is a good development. It's a welcome development. And I want to . . .

MAGINNIS: Give up the hundred thousand guns that you have.

ADAMS: And I want to do it back at home.

KING: You do not hate Mr Maginnis?

ADAMS: Not at all. I think . . . I think for all his faults he's a decent . . .

KING: You don't hate him?

MAGINNIS: I'm not in the business of hate. I'm in the business of reality.

ADAMS: There's my hand, Ken and I'll see you in Dungannon

MAGINNIS: I'm not going to be . . . I'm not going to be involved in gimmicks.

ADAMS: This is not a gimmick. I'll shake hands with you off camera. I'll talk about it with you.

MAGINNIS: This is a gimmick for the American public.

ADAMS: Not at all.

MAGINNIS: And what the American public have got to realise is quite simply this, that Gerry Adams controls an organisation which has 100 tons of guns. He's come here for a political ploy.

ADAMS: I represent an organisation which has contributed . . . to developing this process. And I want Mr Maginnis to join it. And I think he has made a small step forward in doing that. And I welcome that.

(Photograph omitted)