Trimble insists that disarmament is the main issue

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has again warned that if the Northern Ireland Assembly is to survive, then arms decommissioning must take place.

Prior to the publication of the British and Irish governments proposals package, Mr Trimble said that republicans had to face up to the current problems facing the peace process.

While the content of the peace package arrived at by the premiers has yet to made public, it is believed to contain proposals on demilitarisation, decommissioning, policing and the political institutions.

Mr Trimble, in an interview given to BBC Radio Ulster, said it did not matter what was in any document that was produced. He said: “The question is what is going to happen and if there isn’t satisfactory action on the ground, then no Ulster Unionist will offer himself for election as First Minister. That means that the crisis that’s in the system will deepen and I think that republicans need to get their heads round the fact that the crisis which arrives solely from their failure to keep their promises is liable to get worse.”

But Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness hit out at Mr Trimble’s statement. He said that Mr Trimble had got it wrong at a time when there were difficulties on both the street and in the peace process. He described the approach adopted by some political leaders as “reckless” as it threatened to pull down the institutions. (SP)

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