08/03/2006

UUP leader says normalisation plans 'premature'

Following the publication of the latest IMC Report, UUP Leader Sir Reg Empey said people would be confused following today's Independent Monitoring Commission report.

Sir Reg said: “People will be confused at the difference in tone between January’s IMC report and today’s report.

"The fact remains that the IRA is still issuing instructions to its members to desist from any criminal activities. It clearly indicates that the IRA is a fully capable organisation.

"Furthermore it illustrates the continued threat posed by dissident republicans and loyalists."

Sir Reg said that Ulster Unionists believed that the government was acting prematurely by removing any locally recruited security force for the first time since partition.

NI Secretary of State Peter Hain said that the remaining commitments of the first tranche of normalisation would be completed within the next two months.

Under demilitarisation plans agreed between the British Government and the main NI parties last August, troop numbers will be reduced and watchtowers in south Armagh will go.

(SP/GB)

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