16 March 2006

SDLP dismiss Adams 'bias' claim

BBC


Mark Durkan is in Washington for the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations

Sinn Fein claims that the US government has become biased in its handling of the peace process have been rejected by SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

Speaking in Washington, Mr Durkan said Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams was wrong to criticise the Bush administration.

He said the US had been critical of unionist politicians for their stance on the violence that erupted last year over the Whiterock parade

Mr Adams' comments have taken some US politicians by surprise.

Speaking in New York before travelling to Washington for Saint Patrick's Day this Friday, Mr Adams said he was bewildered and surprised that the US government would not allow Sinn Fein to fundraise when the IRA had put all of its weapons beyond use.

'Partisan'

However, his accusation that the US government and its special envoy Mitchell Reiss had been partisan was dismissed by Mr Durkan.

"I don't see how the US government has been partisan in recent months," he said.

"I think Mitchell Reiss has done a good job in calling things straight on the need for a lawful society."

"Let's remember Mitchell Reiss called the UUP and DUP leadership short over the Whiterock parade.

"He criticised them for a failure in leadership in terms of their attitude to try and justify and excuse that violence and blame and attack the police, that's because he was trying to hold the line for a lawful society."

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