28/11/2001

Trimble appeals to party members for backing

Details of a motion Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble intends tabling at this Saturday’s special party meeting have been revealed.

The motion calls on all party members to support Mr Trimble in his efforts to secure complete decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, while working in the power-sharing executive.

However, it stops short of setting a specific deadline by which the party wants to see the process completed.

A letter from Mr Trimble, which contains the motion, was being delivered to party delegates on Wednesday November 28.

The letter to all 860 members of the Ulster Unionist Council also contains a personal appeal from Mr Trimble for support at the meeting.

Ina BBC interview on Wednesday Mr Trimble said: "There is a wide understanding in the party that in dealing with this difficult issue that we need to be careful about the precise tactics we use.

"There has also been a general understanding that the tactics we have used have produced results, even though it has taken longer than we would have wanted."

Mr Trimble has been under pressure to set a disarmament deadline. But in his letter, he says he is not prepared to disclose his tactics and instead asks the delegates to trust him on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State has said that no deadline has been set to end the existence of the international decommissioning body. Speaking on Wednesday, Dr John Reid said the decommissioning legislation which runs out in February was likely to be renewed.

He added that the term of office for the decommissioning body's head, General John de Chastelain, was open ended. (AMcE)

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