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December 08, 2004

News 12/08/04 - Govt's Proposals For Comprehensive Agreement

Proposals By The British And Irish Governments For A Comprehensive

The documents presented here constitute the proposed agreement
which the British and Irish Governments sent to Sinn Féin and the
DUP. Despite intensive efforts over a number of months and very
considerable progress, not all elements were agreed.

We hope the people of Northern Ireland will reflect on what has
been achieved and on the opportunity which this agreement, if
accepted in its entirety, represents. For our part, we intend to
press ahead to find ways of bridging the remaining gaps.

Proposals by the British and Irish Governments for a Comprehensive

1. Following intensive discussions at Leeds Castle and subsequently
involving all the parties represented in the Northern Ireland
Assembly, a basis for agreement has now been reached on the key
issues identified by the Prime Minister, the Taoiseach and the
parties at Lancaster House in June. These include the need to bring
all forms of paramilitary activity to an end; the need to
decommission all paramilitary weapons; the need for a clear
commitment on all sides to the stability of the political
institutions; and for the achievement of support for policing from
all sides of the community.

2. Together with the fulfilment of the commitments of the two
Governments relating to the full implementation of the Agreement,
all of these issues have been addressed satisfactorily. There is
now a basis on which we can look forward to the early restoration
of the Assembly, with the prospect of stable and inclusive
powersharing government in Northern Ireland and the full operation
of the North-South and East-West arrangements. The enabling steps
to achieve these objectives are outlined in the annexed timetable.

3. The Governments have made clear consistently that they remain
committed to the fundamentals of the Agreement reached in 1998,
including the need for consent to constitutional change, for
absolute commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means,
for stable inclusive partnership government, for a balanced
institutional accommodation of the key relationships within
Northern Ireland, between North and South and between these islands
and for equality and human rights to be at the heart of the new
dispensation in Northern Ireland. None of the parties in the review
of the operation of the Agreement conducted this year have
dissented from these fundamental elements.

Paramilitary activity and decommissioning

4. We are confident that steps will now be taken to provide for an
immediate, full and permanent cessation of all paramilitary
activity by the IRA. As regards IRA weapons, the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning will issue a report
later today which sets out the way forward in terms of a definitive
programme to ensure that the process is completed by the end of
December 2004. These developments are momentous. The prospect of a
new era of lasting peace and stability, involving the ending of all
paramilitary activity and other illegal activity, requires all
sides to respond positively. For their part, the Governments are
determined to ensure that this unprecedented opportunity for peace
is secured and sustained. This major step forward by the IRA
underlines the need for rapid progress in regard to the
decommissioning of all paramilitary weapons from all sources. We
urge all parties and relevant groups to use their influence now to
address the question of arms in the possession of loyalist

Political Institutions

5. The Governments and the parties have been anxious to see the
earliest possible ending of the suspension of the Northern Ireland
Institutions. In addition, based on the extensive discussions in
the Review, the Governments have made an assessment of what changes
to the operation of certain aspects of the Agreement would be
broadly acceptable to the parties. Based on this assessment, the
British Government will lift suspension in February 2005 once
legislation has been introduced in the British Parliament to amend
a number of aspects of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and related
legislation. This legislation will also provide for the removal of
the power of suspension. This will enable the institutional changes
outlined in the attached annex to come into effect before the
formation of the new Executive.

6. To allow the parties to prepare adequately for the re-
establishment of the political institutions, the British Government
will also introduce legislation in December to allow the formation
of a shadow Assembly. This shadow period will take effect on the
completion of IRA decommissioning, at the beginning of January.
Prior to this shadow period, following the IICD statement that the
decommissioning process has commenced, it is envisaged that names
of candidates for First and Deputy First Minister will be made
public by the appropriate parties.

Policing and Justice

7. There have been extensive discussions about prospects for
extending support across all sections of the community for the new
policing arrangements in Northern Ireland. On the basis of these
discussions, including on the key related issue of the devolution
of justice and policing, we have a strong expectation that this
process of decision making by Sinn Féin will be undertaken quickly.
If required, the British Government will make appropriate
arrangements to facilitate Sinn Féin membership of the new Policing
Board once this decision making process has concluded. The
Governments expect that Sinn Féin will be in a position to join the
Policing Board no later than the date on which the Bill enabling
devolution of policing and justice is enacted.

8. The prospects for the devolution of responsibility for policing
and justice will be influenced by the effective implementation of
all the developments listed in this document. Against that
background, the British Government will initiate discussions with
the parties on the modalities of devolution as soon as the IICD has
confirmed the completion of IRA decommissioning, with the aim of
agreement by the time the Executive is established. On that basis
the British Government will commit to introducing into Parliament
by the summer of 2005 the legislation necessary to permit
devolution to take place. Such legislation will come into force as
soon as possible, once sufficient confidence exists across the
community, as expressed in a cross-community vote in the Assembly,
proposed by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The
British Government will work to promote the necessary confidence to
allow such a vote to take place within two years.


9. All this represents major progress towards our goal of securing
peace and political stability in Northern Ireland. There is a great
deal of work to do in implementing the various commitments referred
to here. The Governments expect that all the parties involved will
carry out their commitments in this agreement in good faith and
will make every effort to build the confidence and trust necessary
for a stable and lasting accommodation. In addition to the
verification mechanisms outlined above, both Governments will keep
implementation of the agreement under close scrutiny with a view to
ensuring that each and all of the commitments are fully implemented
and that any default is identified and challenged. The Governments
are determined that default by any one of the parties to this
agreement would not be allowed to hinder the progress made by
others in good faith.


The Agreement would unfold as follows:

Tuesday 7 December

by 18:00 DUP and Sinn Féin confirm their agreement to the
Governments. IICD confirms to Governments that it can proceed on
the basis of Annex D.

Wednesday 8 December

09:00 Joint Government Statement issued.
10:00 IRA Statement released (Attached C).
11:00 IICD Statement released (Attached D).
12:00 DUP Statement (Attached E).
13:00 Sinn Féin Statement on policing released (Attached F).
14:30 Prime Ministers hold press conference in Belfast.


:: British Government announces legislative changes

:: Emergency legislation to enable a Shadow Assembly

:: IICD announces commencement of decommissioning process

:: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland convenes meeting of all

:: Secretary of State engages in consultations with parties and
announces arrangements for an infrastructure investment seminar
involving parties to be represented in the Executive

:: Parties indicate who their candidates for FM/DFM will be

:: Secretary of State further consults with parties and announces
for an independently facilitated forum on a Bill of Rights for
Ireland including details of independent facilitator

:: IICD report confirms 100% (end-month) of IRA arms decommissioned

:: IMC Interim Report



:: Shadow Assembly established

:: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland arranges meetings with
prospective First Minister and Deputy First Minister

:: Establishment of shadow Assembly committees to consider
modalities for devolution of Criminal Justice and Policing and
preparations for government (including the draft Ministerial Code,
draft Programme for Government and other preparatory issues needing

:: Enactment of necessary legislation on Strands 1-3 February

:: IMC report

:: British Government lifts suspension

:: Agreement reached on modalities for devolution of Criminal
Justice and Policing March

:: FM/DFM and Executive confirmed by the Assembly

:: Plenary meeting of NSMC Early Summer

:: Plenary meeting of BIC British Government introduces legislation
giving effect to devolution of criminal justice and policing.
Legislation to come into effect once sufficient confidence has been
established, as expressed in a cross-community vote in the
Assembly, proposed by First and Deputy First Minister.


Proposals by the British Government for changes in Strand One
institutions following the review

1. Enhancing collectivity and accountability. There has been
general agreement that underpinning collectivity and accountability
is important. Key features of existing arrangements are:

:: The Executive must agree a draft Programme for Government and
Budget, which must be approved by the Assembly on a crosscommunity

:: In most cases legislative proposals that require Assembly
approval derive from Ministerial decisions. Where a Petition of
Concern is invoked in respect of such legislation, the Assembly's
decision must be on the basis of a cross-community vote;

:: The Pledge of Office requires Ministers to act in accordance
with Executive and Assembly decisions. In the case of the NSMC and
BIC, this is an explicit statutory duty, as is the report to the
Assembly which Ministers must make after such meetings;

:: The current ministerial code requires Ministers to bring to the
Executive for consideration and agreement certain matters
(including those cutting across ministerial responsibilities,
requiring agreement on prioritisation or adoption of a common
position, or having implications for the Programme for Government);

:: Committees of the Assembly have a right to summon and question
Ministers on any aspect of their responsibilities.

:: It was also the practice in the former Executive that Ministers
brought for consideration there all proposals for public
consultation on significant issues, primary and secondary
legislation, significant policy proposals and announcements and
decisions which were likely to be controversial. Ministers also
circulated all papers which it was proposed to table at NSMC/BIC
meetings in advance to other Ministers to enable any matter of
concern to be brought to an Executive meeting for consideration.



2. The following are proposals by the British Government, in the
light of consideration in the review of Strand One issues.

3. A statutory ministerial Code. An amendment to the Northern
Ireland Act 1998 would require there to be a ministerial Code, and
place a duty upon Ministers (including junior Ministers),
notwithstanding their executive authority in their areas of
responsibility as defined in the Agreement, to act in accordance
with the provisions on ministerial accountability of the Code. The
Code would reflect a requirement for safeguards to ensure that all
sections of the community could participate and work together
successfully in the operation of these institutions and that all
sections of the community were protected. There would be
arrangements to ensure that, where a decision of the Executive
could not be achieved by consensus and a vote was required, any
three members of the Executive could require it to be taken on a
crosscommunity basis.

4. The 1998 Act would be amended to require inclusion in the Code
of agreed provisions in relation to ministerial accountability.
Consistent with paragraphs 19 and 20 of the Agreement, this would
provide for the Executive to be the forum for:

(i) the discussion of, and agreement on, issues which cut across
the responsibilities of two or more Ministers, including in
particular those that are the responsibility of the Minister of
Finance and Personnel.

(ii) prioritising executive proposals;

(iii) prioritising legislative proposals;

(iv) recommending a common position where necessary – for instance,
on matters which concern the response of the Northern Ireland
administration to external relationships;

(v) agreement each year on (and review as necessary of) a programme
incorporating an agreed budget linked to policies and programmes
(Programme for Government);

(vi) discussion of and agreement on any issue which is significant
or controversial and is clearly outside the scope of the agreed
Programme for Government or which the First Minister and Deputy
First Minister agree should be brought to the Executive.

5. The new Code would be discussed by the parties and agreed by the
Executive when formed. The First Minister and Deputy First Minister
would propose the Code to the Assembly. It would have effect once
endorsed by cross-community support there. Any amendments to the
Code would require cross-community support in the Assembly.


6. Assembly referrals for Executive review. An amendment to the
1998 Act would provide for referrals from the Assembly to the
Executive of important ministerial decisions. Thirty members of the
Assembly might initiate such a referral, within seven days of a
ministerial decision or notification of the decision where
appropriate. Before he could pass the referral to the Executive,
the Presiding Officer, following consultation with the parties in
the Assembly, would be required to certify that it concerned an
issue of public importance. The Executive would consider the issue
within seven days. A second referral could not be made by the
Assembly in respect of the same matter. Only matters covered by the
Ministerial Code, as set out above, would require a collective
decision by the Executive.

7. Reflecting the Pledge of Office, the 1998 Act would be amended
to require a Minister to act in accordance with any relevant
decisions of the Executive and/or Assembly.

8. Amendments to the Pledge of Office. The 1998 Act would be
amended to include a requirement in the Pledge of Office that
Ministers would participate fully in the Executive and NSMC/BIC,
and would observe the joint nature of the office of First Minister
and Deputy First Minister.

9. Assembly approval of Ministers in the Executive. An amendment
would be made to the 1998 Act on appointment of Ministers in the
Executive. The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the
largest designation in the Assembly would first make a nomination
to the Assembly Presiding Officer for the post of First Minister.
The Nominating Officer of the largest party in the second largest
designation in the Assembly would similarly nominate for the post
of Deputy First Minister. The d'Hondt procedure would then run, as
already set out in the 1998 Act, to fill the Ministerial posts in
the Executive.

The Presiding Officer would put to the Assembly an Executive
Declaration listing the entire resulting Executive (FM, DFM and
Ministers). The Executive Declaration would require approval by the
50:50:50 criterion. In order to uphold the right of every party, so
entitled by its electoral strength, to nominate an MLA of its
choice for ministerial office, only one Executive Declaration could
be tabled by the Presiding Officer. If approval was not achieved
within six weeks from the date on which the Assembly first met,
there would, as under the present procedures, be a new Assembly

No minister would be allowed to remain in the Executive if he or
she had not voted in favour of the Executive Declaration, and if
the nominating officer of his or her party did not nominate another
MLA who had done so, d'Hondt would be re-run excluding that party.
Where a vacancy arose later in the office of the FM or DFM, the
nominating officers of the parties entitled to nominate as above
for the two offices would do so, following which the Presiding
Officer would put to the Assembly a partial Executive Declaration,
for approval by the 50:50:50 criterion. Where a vacancy arose in
another ministerial office, it would be filled as at present. It
will be a matter for the standing Institutional Review Committee
referred to in paragraph 12 to consider whether the new procedures
should continue beyond the life of the present Assembly.

10. Functions of Office of First Minister and Deputy First
Minister. The First Minister and Deputy First Minister would reach
agreement as to whether any functions of the current OFMDFM should
be transferred to other departments, and would put proposals to the
Executive and Assembly accordingly.

11. Committee of the Centre. An amendment to the 1998 Act would
provide for the existing Assembly Committee of the Centre to be
placed on a statutory footing like that of other departmental
scrutiny committees.

12. Reviews.

:: An amendment to the 1998 Act would provide for the Assembly to
appoint a standing Institutional Review Committee, to examine the
operational aspects of the Strand One institutions. Matters to be
reviewed in this way would be agreed among the parties. The
Committee's reports would be considered by the Executive and
Assembly, and, where agreed changes required legislative steps
outside the scope of the devolved institutions, by the British
Government in consultation as appropriate with the Irish

:: The First Minister and Deputy First Minister would appoint an
Efficiency Review Panel, to examine efficiency and value for money
of aspects of the Strand One institutions. The FM/DFM would put to
the Assembly for approval proposals for the panel's remit, which
might include the size of the Assembly and the departmental
structure. The Panel would take into account as appropriate the
work of the Review of Public Administration.

The Panel's report would be considered by the Executive and
Assembly, and, where agreed changes required legislative steps
outside the scope of the devolved institutions, by the British
Government in consultation as appropriate with the Irish

13. Repeal of the Northern Ireland Act 2000. In accordance with the
Government's earlier commitments in the context of acts of
completion, it would propose to Parliament the repeal of the 2000
Act, which provides for suspension.

14. Community designation. An amendment to the 1998 Act would
provide that an Assembly Member would not be able to change
community designation for the whole of an Assembly term from that
expressed at the time of nomination for election, except in the
case of a change of membership of political party.


Proposals by the British and Irish Governments for changes in
Strands Two and Three institutions following the review The
following are proposals by the British and Irish Governments,
following consideration in the review of Strands Two and Three

1. Executive role in preparation for NSMC and BIC meetings. The
amendment to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 on a ministerial Code,
described in the British Government's Strand One proposals, would
bear on Executive proceedings relating to the North-South
Ministerial Council and British-Irish Council.

2. The Code would provide that draft NSMC and BIC decision papers
would be circulated to all Executive members within a period (to be
decided by the Executive) in advance of a scheduled NSMC or BIC
meeting. Any member of the Executive would have the right to seek
an Executive discussion on such a paper. Notwithstanding the lead
Minister's executive authority in his/her area of responsibility as
defined in the Agreement, where the Code provided that certain
matters should be considered/agreed in the Executive Committee (see
paragraphs 3 to 5 of the British Government's Strand One
proposals), this would apply to any draft NSMC/BIC decision papers
falling within those agreed provisions.

3. Attendance at NSMC and BIC. Amendments to the 1998 Act would
provide for a minister with lead departmental interest in an issue
under consideration at an NSMC/BIC meeting to be entitled to attend
(with a power for a minister so entitled, by consent, to arrange
for another minister attending to discharge his/her
responsibilities), and a power for the FM/DFM to adjudicate where a
Minister's lead departmental interest was disputed. There would
also be a statutory obligation on FM/DFM to nominate for attendance
at NSMC/BIC a replacement for a lead Minister if that Minister was
not proposing to attend the meeting in question, and had not
arranged for a replacement Minister to discharge his/her

There would be a statutory power for the FM/DFM to require such
relevant information from the lead department as would be necessary
for the NSMC/BIC meeting in question. Finally, reflecting the
existing requirement for representation of the Executive on a
cross-community basis at meetings of the NSMC/BIC, there would be a
statutory obligation on the FM/DFM to nominate the other Minister
whose presence is necessary to fulfil that requirement.

4. NSMC/BIC agendas. The relevant legislation would be amended as
necessary to make clear that where a matter on the agenda for a
meeting of the NSMC or BIC was one outside the responsibilities of
a Minister due to attend, because it was outside his or her
departmental responsibilities and not covered by a transfer of
authority from another Minister, it would be subject to a decision
of the Assembly.

5. Review. The Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government,
under the auspices of the NSMC, would appoint a Review Group to
examine objectively (1) the efficiency and value for money of
existing implementation bodies and (2) the case for additional
bodies and areas of co-operation within the NSMC where mutual
benefit would be derived. The Group would also input into the work
commissioned by the NSMC in June 2002 on the identification of a
suitable substitute for the proposed Lights Agency of the Foyle,
Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission. The Group would report
with recommendations to the NSMC. Any changes to the existing
arrangements would require the specific endorsement of the Assembly
and Oireachtas. In the meantime, the NSMC would continue to oversee
the ongoing work of the Implementation Bodies and work in the areas
of co-operation.

6. Assembly/Oireachtas scrutiny of implementation bodies. Chairs
and Chief Executives of North/South bodies, when called upon and at
least yearly, would appear before relevant Assembly Committees.
There is provision in the South for similar arrangements in
relation to the Oireachtas.

7. North-South Parliamentary Forum. The Northern Ireland Executive
would encourage the parties in the Assembly to establish a North-
South parliamentary forum bringing together equal numbers from the
Oireachtas and the Assembly, and operating on an inclusive basis.

8. Independent Consultative Forum. The Northern Ireland Executive
would support the establishment of an independent North/South
consultative forum appointed by the two Administrations and
representative of civil society.

9. Secretariat of British-Irish Council. Following consultation
with its other members, and with a view to giving further impetus
to its work, the two Governments would facilitate the establishment
of a standing secretariat for the British-Irish Council, if members

10. East-West Interparliamentary Framework. Following appropriate
consultation with the British-Irish Interparliamentary Body, the
two Governments would encourage the Oireachtas, the British
Parliament and the relevant elected institutions to approve an
East-West Interparliamentary Framework which would embrace all
their interests. The framework would operate on an inclusive basis.



1. Against the background of the ongoing and protracted IRA
cessations, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has periodically
asserted the view that the political responsibility for advancing
the political situation rests with the two Governments, especially
the British Government and the political parties.

2. A comprehensive agreement between the two Governments and the
political parties to achieve a just and lasting peace has been
secured. We welcome that.

3. The full and speedy implementation of the comprehensive
agreement now achieved, as all sides, including the two
Governments, are now pledged to do, will, by removing the causes of
conflict, allow Unionists and Republicans to pursue our political
objectives peacefully and as equals. The future of the people of
this island must be one in which the rights, identity, culture and
contribution of everyone including Unionists is fully respected.

4. The IRA leadership is determined to support this comprehensive

The all-Ireland nature and implementation on an enduring basis of
this agreement by the democratically elected representatives of the
Irish people enables us all to take political objectives forward by
peaceful and democratic means. This creates the conditions for the
IRA to move into a new mode that reflects its determination to see
the transition to a totally peaceful society brought to a
successful conclusion. Consistent with this and recognising the
need to uphold and not to endanger anyone's personal rights and
safety, all IRA volunteers have been given specific instructions
not to engage in any activity which might thereby endanger the new

5. We have also made it clear that the IRA leadership will, in this
new context, conclude the process to completely and verifiably put
all its arms beyond use. Accordingly the IRA leadership has agreed
with the IICD to complete this process in a way which further
enhances public confidence and to conclude this by the end of


Elements for an IICD Statement

1. We have had further meetings with the IRA representative and
have agreed arrangements which will see all IRA arms put beyond use
by the end of December 2004. We have had up-to-date assessments
from British and Irish security sources of IRA arms holdings to
assist us in that regard.

2. It is our intention to issue further reports in relation to IRA
arms: a statement on the commencement of the decommissioning
process and a final report at the end of December, when the process
of putting IRA arms beyond use is complete. The significance of
such an agreement will be unparalleled.

3. The Commission has pursued the agreed remit given to us in
strict adherence to the legislative terms which govern our
existence and activities. The independence and integrity of the
IICD are central and indispensable elements of the decommissioning
process. We continue to believe that a report by the IICD marking
the successful completion of our task in respect of IRA arms is the
most effective way to enhancing public confidence.

4. We are aware, however, that some have argued that more is
required in respect of the transparency of the decommissioning
process. On the basis of our recent contacts with the IRA
representative, we are satisfied that this will form part of our
two further reports. The IRA representative has indicated that, in
response to our request to agree mechanisms which would enhance
public confidence in the decommissioning process, additional
arrangements will be put in place. These will include the presence
as observers during the process of two clergymen nominated by the
two Governments following appropriate consultation. These witnesses
will be able to make public statements to the following effect on
publication of the final IICD Report in December:

(a) that they themselves have attended each decommissioning event
that has taken place since their appointment as independent

(b) that the inventory compiled by the IICD is a true reflection of
what was decommissioned.

5. In addition, the IRA representative has told us that the IRA
will have photographs of the weapons and materiel involved taken by
the IICD, in the presence of the independent observers. These
photographs will be shown by the IICD to the two Governments and
the parties at the time of the final report on IRA decommissioning
and will be published at the time the Executive is established.

6. We now look forward to progress in decommissioning the weapons
held by other groups.


DUP Statement:

(1) We welcome the new agreement and we believe that it
significantly benefits the whole community and we commend it, if
implemented faithfully and fully, to all those who support us and
all others who want a peaceful and democratic solution within the
United Kingdom to our ageold conflict.

(2) During the Assembly election campaign we published policy
papers and in our manifesto we set out seven Principles and seven
Tests which would govern our negotiating stance. We outlined the
nature of an agreement we could accept and which we believed the
unionist community could support. We furthermore chose to set the
agreement in a context that would ensure it was fair to all. We
believe our position in the talks and the outcome of the
negotiations has been completely consistent with these mandated
policies, principles and tests.

(3) The outworking of this new agreement has the capacity to
transform our society. The settlement, if fulfilled in its
entirety, can deal definitively and conclusively with the issues of
IRA weapons and all its paramilitary and other illegal activity. It
will be in this setting that the DUP will engage with and work, in
an inclusive executive.

(4) Following confirmation in reports from the IMC and the IICD,
that IRA paramilitary activity of all kinds has ended we will
operate and participate, in all the new arrangements. This is
consistent with our mandate. In this context we intend to work
together in constructive partnership with all parties in the
Assembly, for the benefit of the whole community in Northern

(5) We urge paramilitary groups within the unionist community, in
the light of moves by the Provisional IRA, to engage positively
with the IICD to remove all illegal weapons from our society and
end all paramilitary and criminal activity.

(6) The DUP is a devolutionist party and wants to see policing and
justice powers devolved just as soon as conditions permit. These
matters affect the lives and liberties of all our citizens and must
be handled with great sensitivity. There is a recognition that
policing and justice functions should be devolved just as soon as
the community confidence exists. We will dedicate ourselves to
reach agreement on how such powers could be exercised.


We will join with the other parties in intensive discussions on the
devolution of criminal justice and policing in a committee of the
Shadow Assembly immediately after the IICD confirms the completion
of IRA decommissioning, with a view to agreement on modalities, if
at all possible, by the time the Executive is established.
Following the passage of the necessary legislation at Westminster
we will use our best efforts to contribute towards building the
community confidence which would be necessary to allow the Assembly
to receive the new powers within the timescale envisaged by the
British Government. This necessary confidence will be expressed
through a cross-community vote in the Assembly, proposed by the
First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

(7) We judge that the key to success is the stability,
accountability, effectiveness and efficiency of the structures and
institutions. All these matters have been taken into account in the
new agreement we have reached.

(8) The DUP see it as imperative that the repeated suspensions that
dogged the life of the Belfast Agreement and its institutions are a
thing of the past and we are looking towards the uninterrupted
operation of stable democratic structures. This new agreement
depends on all parties honouring each and every obligation – we
will meet our commitments in each Strand and in every other
respect, and, to succeed, others must meet their obligations.

(9) This community has been deeply divided and has suffered much in
social and economic terms from the prolonged conflict. There is
much to be done to create a society in which there is respect for
the rights and equality of all our citizens and in which mutual
trust can grow. There is a need to build a calm regard for our
distinct and sometimes conflicting cultural traditions and to
respect the diversity of our people.

(10) Inter-community conflict still exists and people are being
displaced from, and attacked in, their homes and districts,
particularly along the boundaries of the interface areas. We want
to see action taken to tackle all sectarianism, racism and
intolerance and seek agreement on a Bill of Rights for Northern
Ireland. We trust other parties will join us in this endeavour.

(11) We will work with the government and with others to prepare a
financial package which can assist in the revitalisation of
Northern Ireland's infrastructure and employment opportunities.
Such a package should include a fund which has an emphasis on the
needs of areas of social deprivation and disadvantage from both
sections of our community.

(12) In looking to the future we are mindful of the innocent
victims who have suffered and those who have lost loved ones in the
years we have passed through. Future generations must never forget
the fallen nor the victims still among us nor fail to honour the
debt we owe for their sacrifices.

(13) The difference between the success and failure of this far-
reaching settlement will lie in the enthusiasm, earnestness and
capacity of all the participants to comprehensively deliver that
which they have agreed.


Sinn Féin Statement on policing

"I will propose to the SF Ard Chomhairle that it calls a special
Ard Fheis to decide on Sinn Féin's support for new policing
arrangements in the context of:

:: agreement between the parties on the departmental model and the
powers to be transferred; and

:: the enactment by the British Parliament of the legislation to
give full expression to this transfer of powers on policing and
justice away from London.

The unresolved issue of policing was a central focus for Sinn Féin
in our recent discussions with the two Governments. For
nationalists and republicans the experience of policing within the
north has been historically negative. This is a huge challenge
which can only be achieved in the context of fundamental change
sustained by effective democratic mechanisms.

As a result of our discussions we now have a commitment from the
British government and the DUP to the transfer of powers on
policing and justice to the Assembly as soon as possible, a DUP
commitment to a speedy, time framed discussion on the departmental
model and the powers to be transferred with a view to agreement by
the time the Executive is established, and a commitment from the
British Government that it will enact in 2005 the necessary
legislation to enable the transfer of policing and justice powers
away from London.

In light of these critically important developments I now intend to
call together an Ard Chomhairle meeting and to recommend to it that
we convene a special Ard Fheis to decide on the issue of policing
as soon as the legislation is enacted.

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