|19 January 2004|
NI parties seek to influence GFA Review agenda
|Ahead of the review of the Good Friday Agreement on February 3, the main political parties have been outlining their strategies today.
Sinn Féin's Good Friday Agreement Review team leader, Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy, reiterated his party leader's call for a review focused on the implementation of the Agreement.
Commenting on the meeting today in London between the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mr Murphy said that the review agenda must ensure the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Murphy said: “Sinn Féin have made it clear that this is a review of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. It is not a substitute for working political institutions and it is not a renegotiation of the Agreement. The format and agenda of the review must be used as an opportunity to give a renewed impetus to the full implementation of the Agreement.”
However, the anti-Agreement DUP favours a much broad ranging review of the basis of the Agreement, which it staked out as its seven-point manifesto at the last election. The DUP want a return to the negotiating table with a view to reshape the agreement into a form more broadly acceptable to its voters.
Former First Minister and Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble denied that the agreement was at the heart of the current political problems, rather the problem had been caused by the paramilitaries.
The SDLP too are concerned that the review should not be seen as a means to attempt a renegotiation of the Good Friday Agreement reached in 1998.
Following his meeting with Mr Blair in London today Mr Ahern said that he expected the review to be concluded by Easter.
Last week Mr Blair declared that the review should be short, sharp and focused and called on all the parties involved to enter the review process with the "intention of making it work."
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