Owen says statement a milestone


The following is an edited version of the speech delivered by the Minister for Justice, Mrs Owen

THE joint communique agreed by the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister today represents a critically important milestone in the developing peace process. It has moved that process forward decisively and has set us on a course that will lead to all party negotiations.

It presents all parties with a challenge but equally offers all parties an opportunity...

It would have represented a betrayal of the hopes and aspirations of the vast majority of the people of these islands who want a future of peace and stability had we not persisted with our efforts to find peace despite the recent acts of terror in London.

It is now a matter for the IRA to decide whether Sinn Fein should participate in the process of negotiation which Sinn Fein has so long sought. It is equally up to the IRA whether they wish to create the conditions in which a resumption of ministerial dialogue with Sinn Fein will be possible.