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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 20, 1998

Northern Ireland Peace Process

Today's decision to suspend Sinn Fein from the Northern Ireland peace talks shows that the UK and Irish governments are committed to an inclusive process, but one that reaffirms that it is unacceptable to mix politics and violence.

Peace in Northern Ireland is best served if all the political leaders of Northern Ireland work to find common ground to make common cause for peace. The United States stands with those who support peace and against those extremists on both sides who will use all the means at their disposal to sabotage a peaceful settlement that the vast majority of both communities, and countries, support. I call on Sinn Fein to take the necessary steps to rejoin the talks, and for all parties to reject violence and demonstrate in word and deed commitment to the Mitchell Principles that exclusively peaceful means are the only way forward.