29/11/2001

Trimble under pressure to set decommissioning deadline

Anti-Agreement Ulster Unionists are pressuring party leader David Trimble to agree to include a three-month deadline in a motion on complete paramilitary decommissioning.

The motion to be put to the party’s ruling Council on Saturday calls for Sinn Féin to be shunned in the power sharing executive in the event that the IRA fail to enact total decommissioning, however the motion from Mr Trimble contains no mention of a timeline inside which this should occur.

Calling for support from UUP party members while Mr Trimble works within the executive to secure complete decommissioning, the current motion proposed is open ended as there is no mention of a deadline.

Anti-Agreement Ulster Unionists say there should be a compromise motion and UUP Lagan Valley MP Jeffery Donaldson has indicated that a consensus should be sought on how to address the decommissioning issue.

However, Mr Trimble told BBC Radio Ulster that while there was a “wide understanding” in the party that when dealing with the issue, care had to be taken with the tactics used even if those used so far had taken “longer than we would have wanted”.

While hardliners have managed to force through a meeting of the Ulster unionist Council, David Trimble has attempted to stay the hand of the party’s anti-Agreement faction by reassuring them that he will continue to seek decommissioning and will make a report to the Council in the spring of next year.

However, there is sure to be concern raised by Dr John Reid’s assertion that there is neither a deadline for the dissolution of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning nor on the tenure of General John de Chastelain. (SP)

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