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25/01/2006

Durkan to brief US figures on restoration

Foyle MP and SDLP Leader Mark Durkan is in Washington today to brief US politicians in Washington DC on the need to set a date for restoration of the Assembly.

Mr Durkan is to have a series of briefings with political figures including the Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi and President Bush’s Northern Ireland Special Envoy, Mitchell Reiss.

Mr Durkan said: "The SDLP’s message today on Capitol Hill is simple. It is time for the Governments to set a date for restoration. It is time for people to get real and get on with implementing the Agreement for all the people of Ireland. It is time to end the notion of any level of Direct Rule in Northern Ireland and it is time to bin any suggestion that the flawed ‘Comprehensive Agreement’ of 2004 is any basis for progress.

"People in the United States agree with us that the time for posturing and grandstanding is over. They share our frustration that almost eight years after the Good Friday Agreement and so much positive work on both sides of the Atlantic, that political progress and the full implementation of the Agreement has been stalled for so long.

Mr Durkan said that the SDLP shared the mood in Irish America and the way forward was simple: "The SDLP want to see the DUP work the Agreement, Sinn Fein to fully embrace the new beginning to policing, and all criminality in all its forms end and be left behind us once and for all."

(SP)

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