Parties consider revised proposals
Sinn Fein and the DUP have received a modified version of the
proposals by the Irish and British governments and will give
their responses to the plan early next week.
It accepted, a historic deal could emerge which would see a
return to the Stormont Assembly by both parties to share power
in the North of Ireland.
Reports suggested that, despite extensive calls for
"clarification" by the two parties, there had been few changes
to the plan.
The proposals include a number of changes to the 1998 Good
Friday Agreement demanded by Ian Paisley's DUP, and requires the
complete disarming of the Provisional IRA.
Mr Paisley briefed his party this evening, but no decision
emerged from a meeting of the DUP Assembly party.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP briefed the party's
leadership yesterday on the state of the negotiation, but he was
back in London today for further talks with British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair.
Both parties look set to continue the process of evaluation and
negotiation over the weekend.
The US President, George W. Bush, took time to contact the
leader of the DUP as he sought to persuade the parties to enter
The Democratic Unionist leader confirmed he received a phone
call from the US President at lunchtime and described their
conversation as useful.
"I reminded the President of the fact that he would not have
terrorists in his government and we must be satisfied that IRA
terrorism is over and cannot return," he said.
"He wished me well in our endeavours and told me I could come
back to him if I wanted to speak again to him.
"I told him we have been praying forever in this country and I
wished him well at this time."
Mr Adams was also expecting a phone call from President Bush. It
also emerged the West Belfast MP also met former South African
President Nelson Mandela while he was in London.
DUP deputy leader Mr Robinson declared last night that "decision
time" had arrived for the Republican Movement. He claimed that
everyone in this process knew that the IRA must "wind up and go
out of business". Mr Paisley said the IRA had "nothing to do
but to be an old boys' association".
IRA TO DECIDE
Speaking on his return from London today, Mr Adams said his
party would go to the IRA if a comprehensive package was put
together. He said questions on IRA decommissioning would be
decided by them.
But he added: "As far as us as a political party is concerned,
the arms issue should be dealt with under the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement, which means the de Chastelain Commission.
"I would also say, when you are asking for something, it is
useful to be civil and temperate in your language.
"If people in the DUP genuinely want others to do things, don't
refer to them as gangsters, don't use offensive language in the
way that it has been used in the past because the Sinn Fein team
could quite easily get into Ulster Resistance, its weapons and
all of that.
"We haven't. We have taken a conscious decision not to because
this is about politics.
"This is about trying to get a peace process in place which
delivers politics which can treat people on the basis of
Mr Adams earlier said his negotiators were working "to bring the
DUP on board and to ensure that the two governments remain
faithful to the Agreement".
He said the governments had to work with the pro-agreement
parties and refuse to give a veto to rejectionist unionism.
"It also means the DUP entering government with Sinn Fein,
sharing power with republicans on the basis of equality and