DUP can resolve deadlock, says SF

JUST one word from the DUP leadership would release the Northern devolved government process from the present deadlock, Martin McGuinness confirmed yesterday.

Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator, speaking at a Sean South commemoration ceremony in Limerick said the DUP must ‘agree’ and not just ‘welcome’ Tony Blair’s assessment of Nationalist and Unionist positions on policing and power-sharing.

The British PM said last Thursday that SF was prepared to share power by March and accept the transfer of policing powers by May 2008, as envisaged in the St Andrew’s Agreement.

While SF president, Gerry Adams, agreed with the Blair assessment, DUP leader Ian Paisley welcomed it.

Mr McGuinness said yesterday they were insisting on the DUP agreeing and not just welcoming the Blair assessment as many people in the nationalist and republican community in the North are sceptical about the intentions of the DUP.

Mr McGuinness said: “They (nationalists, republicans) don’t see the word ‘welcome’ as equal to ‘agreement.’ If there is no difference between the two words then it should be very easy for Mr Paisley to say that he agrees with the British Prime Minister. Even the Taoiseach in his interview with RTÉ today acknowledged that the DUP should make clear their position.”

He said SF does not equate the word ‘agree’ with the word ‘welcome’ because Ian Paisley calls himself a plain-speaking Ulster man.

Mr McGuinness said: “I am a plain-speaking Ulster man and the people that I represent are plain-speaking Ulster men and women. We want the DUP to make it clear that they are prepared to sign up for power sharing and the transfer of powers of policing in the course of the discussions.”

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