Move on without DUP - Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has told the new British Direct
Ruler that he must now move forward on an "agenda of change"
without further delay.
Peter Hain, also the secretary of state for Wales, said he would
have a direct, hands-on role in trying to bring devolution back
permanently to the North and cement the peace process.
After a walk around Belfast city centre, Mr Hain held meetings
with political leaders.
Mr Adams pointed out that, despite the stalemate over the DUP's
refusal to hold meetings with his party, that key elements of
the Good Friday Agreement do not require co-operation from the
"Progress on equality, human rights, collusion, the Irish
language, demilitarisation, justice and policing are entirely
within the gift of the British government," he said. "There
an increased onus on the British government to face up to the
many issues within its control."
Mr Hain met several shoppers in the city centre on the
traditional 'walkabout' of new Direct Rulers. He insisted the
post had not been downgraded.
He said: "The Prime Minister made it clear that he will keep a
very hands-on approach to the whole process for securing peace
and building the institutions.
"It is very, very important to him and it is important to the
whole of the government.
"'It's an absolute priority,' he told me when he appointed me on
"[The Prime Minister's chief of staff] Jonathan Powell's
involvement is also crucial to that but I intend to take myself
a very direct, leading role in this alongside the Prime Minister
and we will work together in partnership."
Meanwhile, Mr Blair himself said he believes an agreement can
still be concluded which will lead to the restoration of
Mr Blair said yesterday a deal between Sinn Fein and the DUP was
During his first news conference since the election, Mr Blair
paid tribute to outgoing Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble,
who lost his seat at Westminster.
"I think that what David Trimble did in Northern Ireland was
immensely brave and I hope very much that that is recognised
when people do a historical analysis of this," he said.
Turning to the prospects for agreement given the new political
landscape after the Westminster election, he added: "I have got
to work with the outcome the electorate has given. I am still
actually very hopeful that we can resolve it. I think sometimes
with the interplay of the different unionist parties it's been
very unclear who exactly is going to end up on top, but I think
that when it became apparent that the UUP couldn't make the deal
with Sinn Fein the DUP gained from that."
He added: "Now I hope the DUP are prepared to share power
provided there is a clear, unequivocal and complete giving up of
violence, and if there isn't I will be left in the same position