Alliance Party Leader, David Ford MLA, has given a cautious welcome to today’s statement by General de Chastelain on IRA decommissioning, but has stressed that the wider issue of ending all paramilitary and criminal activity has still to be assessed.
David Ford said:
“Alliance is encouraged by today’s statement by General de Chastelain and his colleagues on arms decommissioning. It is a significant step forward. However, it must be seen as only part of a wider process of building confidence across the community.
“Decommissioning is important, principally as a confidence building measure. Alliance has no problem in accepting the word of the members of the IICD.
“The focus now turns to the other activities of the Republican movement, as were outlined in Alliance’s ten benchmarks. Over the coming months, we will study closely the reports of the IMC, as they assess the activities of both unionist and nationalist paramilitaries.
“Some unionists are still refusing to engage in any contact with Sinn Fein, while having no problem in joint activity with Loyalist parties, despite the violence on and after 10 September.
“Alliance stands firm for the rule of law. We will continue to work for a normal, peaceful society.
“In the light of today’s statement, Alliance is now prepared to engage with Sinn Fein in an effort to resolve these outstanding issues and ensure that we move to that normal society.
“What we will oppose is a further round of concessions to both unionists and nationalists on the basis of past violence.”