22 February 2006

Adams accuses governments of lies


Gerry Adams accused the governments of telling lies

Sinn Fein has accused the governments of lying about attempts to set up talks on Monday so that the DUP would not have to sit with the republican party.

Party leader Gerry Adams rejected government claims that they were trying to set up "parallel" rather than "separate talks" at Stormont.

It is understood the plan was to have the DUP, SDLP, UUP and Alliance at one session of talks, without Sinn Fein.

In a second round, SF would replace the DUP who refuse to sit with republicans.

However, the talks collapsed in acrimony.

Speaking afterwards, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said: "Nobody would have been excluded, there were parallel meetings, consecutively, on the same issues with all the parties."

But at a news conference on Tuesday, Mr Adams accused the British and Irish governments of "telling lies" and of being unwilling to set in place a time frame by which business must be done.

"They are shadow boxing, they are marking time and they can't moan about the parties here," he said.

"We are all open to justifiable criticism but the governments cannot moan about the parties when they get involved in such a naive manoeuvre."

Mr Hain has set a deadline of 8 March for the parties to agree amendments to new legislation on the assembly and other issues.

He said he was aiming for progress in the spring to see the assembly reopen.

It means that the parties have less than a month to agree changes to new legislation on the assembly and other matters.

The British and Irish governments are stepping up pressure on the parties to compromise and restore the assembly, which was suspended in October 2003 following allegations of a republican spy ring at the Northern Ireland Office.

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