An Alliance Party delegation is to meet the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) later today, to review its statement on the complete decommissioning of IRA weapons, and to inquire about its planned work in regards to the decommissioning of weapons held by loyalist paramilitary organisations.
David Ford, Alliance Party Leader and a member of the delegation, said:
“The Alliance Party has welcomed the statement by General de Chastelain on IRA decommissioning. It is a significant step forward. We have no problem in accepting the word of the members of the IICD.
“We wish to review the IICD’s statement when we meet with them, and to seek clarification of some of their remarks made in the presentation of its statement.
“Decommissioning by loyalist paramilitaries still needs to happen. We will be inquiring about the IICD’s planned work in this regard.
“We acknowledge that the IICD was bound by the legal parameters imposed upon it. Alliance is confident of the integrity of the IICD and those involved with this body. In light of the IICD’s statement, Alliance is prepared to engage with Sinn Fein on outstanding issues.
“Indeed, the forthcoming reports by the Independent Monitoring Commission will reveal the extent of paramilitary and criminal activity, which will have a direct bearing upon our willingness to engage with the political representatives of such organisations.
“The complete unwillingness of some unionists to engage in any contact with Sinn Fein, while having no problem dealing with representatives of loyalist paramilitaries is grossly hypocritical.
“Alliance will also oppose further rounds of Government concessions to unionists and nationalists on the basis of past violence.
“The way forward is through the rule of law, applied to all equally. The IICD is playing its role within a clear legal process, as is the IMC, and Alliance will ensure that the Government and others do so as well.”
The Alliance Party delegation to the IICD were: David Ford MLA, Eileen Bell MLA, Sean Neeson MLA, Councillor Stephen Farry, and Allan Leonard.