31/08/2001

Trimble maintains republican credibility is ‘seriously damaged’

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has said that republicans will have to try harder if they are going to rebuild their credibility and achieve a resolution to the Northern Ireland political crisis.

Mr Trimble, interviewed on the BBC’s Newsline following his return from holiday, said that the events in Colombia would radically change the approach taken by the Ulster Unionist Party to the political crisis precipitated by the republicans’ failure to decommission.

He said that the republican movements credibility had been “seriously damaged” by the development: “ The mountain that republicans have to climb is now greater, and I would wish that they would focus on that instead of coming out with puerile excuse.”

The peace process that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement remains deadlocked on the issue of decommissioning, policing, demilitarisation, and the stability of the institutions.

The province’s main political parties have four weeks remaining in which to find a resolution to the current problems bogging down further progress towards a political consensus.

Unlike the SDLP who have been prepared to join the Policing Board, Sinn Fein have rejected the proposals put forward on policing, which they claim do not go far enough in meeting the Patten Commissions’ recommendations.

While the DUP have walked away from policing issue claiming that it is non-negotiable, the Ulster Unionists are set to examine their position on the issue over the weekend. (SP)

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